Brian Paumier: Up, Down, Up, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, and Start
De Soto Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Brian Paumier. On view will be a series of prints and light boxes that mix photography with reworked 80’s video game graphics and custom motorcycle fabrications.
Paumier’s work addresses the mechanics of memory and nostalgia — how recollections are reconstructed over time and become iconic through repetition. Borrowing from disparate influences, he weaves a deeply personal but universal narrative while incorporating nontraditional materials that veer toward an image-object.
The new series links 1980s pop culture with conceptions of the military, technology, entertainment, and religion. It connects arcade games from the era to Paumier’s own monomythic journey into the army and his subsequent spiritual quest for redemption. The Konami Code, a once secret, now fabled cheat code in the Rambo-esque shooter game Contra NES, is the basis for the exhibition title inadvertently recalled incorrectly.
Mounted prominently, large light boxes gleam like revived relics; images of toys and trinkets are enshrined in scaled-up game monitor bezels framed with brightly colored, powder-coated aluminum. In another display, a nearly life-size toy spaceman stands at attention on an adhesive photo print mounted below an obscure, vintage marquee that reads “Amigo.” Finally, several ultra-thin LED light panels emblazoned with portraits of cartoonish curios are conspicuously plugged into power, all neatly in a row.
Brian Paumier (b. 1973, Oxnard, California) is currently based in Cleveland, Ohio where he is about to complete studies in V-Twin bike-building, an undertaking inspired by repeated motorcycle breakdowns traveling through India during a recent artist residency. He received his MFA from ICP/Bard and his BFA from Art Center College of Design. His work is in various public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the 21c Museum Hotel in Durham, NC, and Beth Rudin DeWoody collection.