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John Sheridan was born in Detroit when cars had fins like fish and now collages, paints, prints, works and studies in Oakland, CA. Growing up in America he has seen the bizarre myth of our culture close up, behind the mask, and has tried to embody some of its contradictions, ambiguities and ambivalences in art.

Believing art can partly redeem a violence-loving, materialistic and imperialistic society he continues investigating several art forms, including digital prints, collage on canvas, and abstract flowing liquid paint combined with carefully hand-painted images mined from America's forgotten working class artistic history.

What is rare about this work is that it has developed an aesthetic embodying solidarity with - and analysis of  - his working class upbringing and the prejudice of American culture against this same working class (and apparently every other living thing).  He is highly interested in dramatizing the distinction between the art produced by this class and more rarefied art.  In this way he explores American culture’s true genius for commercial art, in order to inform and strengthen art, and to simultaneously use art to comment on our commercial preoccupation.

Years ago I had a vision of creating experimental canvases covered in nothing but bright, colorful decals.  Their designs are fascinating, and they came already cut to size.  At that time there was no way to afford or easily find large numbers of decals so I turned to painting which I also loved.  I never forgot my desire to create works made of decals.

 

But in the history of art, technology is critical, as when on a hunch I typed the word “decal” into the search function of eBay, the online auction website.  Astonishingly in seconds there were links to over 30,000 auctions.

 

That near instant access made it possible to research creating entire works made of nothing but decals – and other premade images, such as static clings, temporary tattoos and stickers of all kinds.  The imagery available has given me a vast ‘palette’ of unimagined variety, color and power.

 

Much of the imagery in my collages, and the digital prints I make from them, is aimed at the American working class and is therefore a kind of portrait of - and an experiment on - people who work for a living.  I find it to be a powerful, compelling, dazzling and dynamic way to use images and logos which can be recombined to create a commentary on the dreams, wishes, and desires of an entire class of people.  And to show as well the contradictions, spin, and dangerously, delusional over-idealized picture of America we are constantly bombarded with.

 

Canvases made entirely of these small messages - to sell soap, gas, barbie dolls, sparkplugs, war, sports and an entire ideology of consumption in fact represent the true genius of American culture – its popular, not its fine art.

 

The goal is to reutilize these pre-existing images to acknowledge their great power, form and culture – and simultaneously re-package them into my own fluid, personal, intuitive, sensual and universal message that can span time and space, and become a time traveling time capsule of art for anyone to ponder and enter into in their own way.  

 

 

 

 

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