Michael Anderson

Armageddon Yacht

January 11ththrough February 9th    

Opening reception: Saturday, January 11th7pm - 9:30pm

Arts+Leisure is pleased to announce Armageddon Yacht, an exhibition of collage-based works by Michael Anderson. Spotlighting the artist’s visceral approach to collage, the works on display combine images drawn from found film posters, advertisements, and other sources into a surreal, puzzle-like narrative backdrop grounded in pop-cultural and pulp tropes. Simultaneously eulogizing and dissecting his source images, Anderson tears them into bits and then reassembles them, lending a refracted, mosaic-like effect that he often exaggerates, as in There’s No Compromise When It’s Time To Die, in which the figures and clock take on a skipping, stuttering appearance. Throughout the exhibition, Anderson deconstructs the physical parameters of the image as a reproduction, questioning their presumed objectivity and reorienting his source images as enigmatic, symbolic paths to invented meaning. 

Seeking to “balance abstraction and representation in composition to create a static/non-static effect in the overall experience of the work” within non-linear narratives that “capture the experience of contemporary life with dark humor”, the works in Armageddon Yacht juggle a striking array of visual styles and allusions. Repeating cut-and-pasted forms in Incomplete Portrait of Lee Ranaldo (Hello Hello Hello) and Michael Jordan’s Murderous Competitiveness recall urban graffiti, particularly Keith Haring’s signature motifs. In Alfred Hitchcock’s Tahitian Mob Execution, fluid, painterly passages are paired with figures cut from movie posters, coexisting in a strange, dreamlike manner, a sort of visual non-sequitur. 

In the eponymous Armageddon Yacht, he juxtaposes an image of three models on a yacht with a pastiche of “oriental” villains from B-movies, highlighting the contrast in their divergent aesthetics and cultural associations. The photograph of the models, ostensibly drawn from an advertising campaign and clearly designed to convey notions of luxury and exclusivity, displays all the gloss and varnish of mass media’s idealized aesthetic, and stands oddly apart from the montage of faces that border it; scaled down to flickers against a fiery background, their depictions of Middle-Eastern “terrorists” are highly exaggerated yet consistent in their signifiers, underscoring the ways in which photographic portrayal can shape perception.