Consumed by Consumerism: The World According to Laurie Hogin
Image rights: Each image measures 6" x 6" The paintings are multilayered with detailed animal species, embedded text and unique day-glo color combinations. She often refers to the species represented in the works as mutants or hybrids of our contemporary society. The albino animals are often contextualized as mutants within nature, in which they have also been a recurring signature icon in her paintings. The text often reflects commercial marketing slogans on how us - as consumers - are seduced to buy products. So the text often reflects the selling pitch we see on packages of products found on items at the everyday grocery store. The animals also have human eyes, as they are reflections of ourselves and society at large. In addition, Hogin continues to explore the literature of Roland Barthes "A Lover's Discourse" by trying to explain in a tangible way, what humans feel when they are in "love" - yet, another fascination for the artist. So the themes of love, desire and romance also are expressed through her palette in the lushness of the exotic fruits, flowers and fungi. As a bit of background on the artist, Hogin's diorama paintings were inspired from visits to the natural history museum as a child and her fascination with the faux animal and nature dioramas. Hogin’s current interests include examining human impulses, desires, and needs, including pleasure, intoxication, addiction, totem, greed, grief, and love. These aspects of human experience and identity, resultant from the interplay of evolutionary biology and culture, find expression in the history of visual culture, as well as, in the chaotic array of cultural material and commodity in our contemporary consumer capital. Hogin combines various tropes from the history of painting, natural history and scientific display, fashion photography and retail display with narrative allegory, often describing political, social, economic, and emotional phenomena. Laurie has always found the study of the physical sciences fascinating - in particular, how we see light through color. Thus, the spectrum as represented in the colors of the rainbow was well represented in this body of work as an underlying visual component. She also continues to explore the literature of Roland Barthes "A Lover's Discourse" by trying to explain in a tangible way, what humans feel when they are in love - yet, another fascination for the artist. So the themes of love, desire and romance also are expressed through her palette in the lushness of the fruits and flowers. The artist's interest in Dutch still life painters, has always been a great influence, thus, the Vanitas still life painting is an on-going homage for the artist too.
Laurie Hogin’s large-scale allegorical oil paintings of a mutated natural world raise issues of consumerism, sexism, and environmental degradation. Rendered in a hyper-realistic style reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch masters, neon-colored animals populate overgrown landscapes, or pose as the subject of a portrait, for instance holding a bubble-wand (The Bubble, 2008). In her well-known painting Allegory of the Free Market (1997), deer-like creatures sporting tiger stripes and leopard spots—one with a banner reading “laissez-faire” tied to its oversized antlers—frantically race down a hillside beneath an ominously smoky sky. “These creatures in the painting have become rampant because of free market policies,” she explains. “Unregulated use of land has resulted in the destruction of predator habitat. One species becomes unbalanced, in a sense, and overruns everything.”
American, b. 1963