Jesse Avina, "Slouching Back Towards… #21", 2008, 27x40”, edition of 6

Jesse Avina, “Slouching Back Towards… #21”, 2008, 27×40”, edition of 6

Jesse Avina

This work is an exploration of my own inability to register the differences between the reality and fantasy of war as mediated through popular culture. As an avid consumer of Hollywood’s culture of violence, I find myself becoming lost in a myriad of converging perceptions of the impact and significance of global conflicts, both past and present. Inspired by Jean Baudrillard’s notion of hyperreality – the inability to discern fact from fiction – I seek to discover whether fantasy may be the best mode for examining our complex and often convoluted relationship to representations of war.

In crafting depictions of war via models, I become invested with authority over familiar scenes of destruction and carnage. As the creator of these sets and images I am elevated beyond the status of mere consumer. By displaying these miniature landscapes as either photographs or video, I further adopt the role of producer, controlling distribution/output of the imagery. However, unlike the images and video distributed by media conglomerates, these images – recontextualized scenes of conflict and violence – reveal their artificiality and register their existence in fantasy.

Jesse Avina (Chicago, IL) earned his BFA at the University of Toledo in Ohio in 2002 and is currently a MFA candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Avina has shown his work in group exhibitions at Gallery Space 2, the Beverly Arts Center, the Toledo Museum of Art and the Center for Visual Arts in Toledo, among others.