With an influence stemming from earlier graphic design work, Barbara Kruger’s signature style; bold, persuasive, thought-provoking and politically agitating, is of increasing personal interest that carries artistic convictions that align with my own intentions. Kruger initiates an intrepid rebel assault on the modernised concepts of anthropologic generalisation, unconsciously perceived smear tactics and a dishearteningly blinded society. Kruger depicts a the westernised society that revels in short sited self-sustainment, unseeing to the notions outside of the darwinistic nature of our strongly embedded culture. Materialism, patriarchy, figure, religion, commercialism, politics and subjects of socio-economic alignment are all parts reflected upon. Born in New Jersey, 1945, Kruger demonstrates her ability to act as a social commentator, narrating the seemingly grey areas that lie between a variety of noticeably sensitive areas of generalised society, a motif I am keen to adopt.
Yet again, the dated 1930s, 40s and 50s printed ephemera is another part of Barbara Kruger’s imagery that is noticeably similar to that of my own. The dated characters act as a mark of a societies idiocy, humorous for the sake of artistic appreciation, the overly-exaggerated connotations of a light-hearted commercialist utopia that broadcasts a lifestyle, in which of course, you may have what you please in conjunction with normalised materialisation, ripe with selfishness. The witty, if-you-know tag lines paint a harsh but truest depiction of a society’s gluttony, fragility and delicately-permeable defence of free-spirit and individuality. The bold, red-top, commercialist font and cliche two-tone colour cast, adopted by the most deceiving of newspapers, is also another intentional focus. The boldness of the type, not only grabs your attention, but almost, slaps your face. A more intense version of a concept I am investigating within my own collage.
A huge part of the process for Barbara Kruger, is the exhibition. Kruger transforms public and social spaces. Internal and externals displays from galleries and billboards, to magazines and newspapers. The fundamental intention, is to make an impact. To achieve that moment of contemplation after the viewing experience, where perhaps the concept is consequentially acted upon. The messages are hard-hitting and the monochrome alongside the red really emphasises the message through means of media relation, upfront graphics and striking impact. When viewed in the street, exhibition or magazine, Barbara Kruger’s are always the first to draw attention, then reveal an almost patronising reality check through tag line and image. The use of an advertising related slogan becomes reversed in its purpose, now donning connotations of nonconformism.
A stern representation is apparent, a key feature I wish to incorporate within my work. The viewer can easily understand the portrayal and Barbara Kruger closely links her aesthetical composition to advertising, demonstrating again, how the imagery is dominate in conveyance. Although my own images are slightly less upfront and may take slightly longer to perceive and act upon the purpose of my imagery is fundamentally similar. An artistic montage intent on impact, self-contemplation and reform is exactly what Barbara Kruger does best and I am glad to be following the same path as this most influential graphic artist intelligently mimicking, reversing and questioning our societies cultural morals.
Kruger, B. (1999) Barbara Kruger. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press
Kruger, B., Fabbri, P., Vettese, A., Pierini, M. and Italy), undefined (2003) Barbara Kruger: [Siena, Palazzo delle Papesse 22 giugno – 5 settembre 2002]. Italy: Palazzo delle Papesse, Centro arte contemporanea
Natal, J. (2010) Kruger, Barbara. Barbara Kruger. CHOICE: Current Reviews, Vol.48(03), pp.48-1273-48-1273