I WANT TO BE ACTION FIGURE
on view: October 30 – December 29, 2013
reception: Saturday November 16, 4-6pm
Many of the components that drive me as an artist today are the same childhood forces that kept me riveted as a kid.
Western, and more specifically American science fiction and fantasy movies, television shows, cartoons and superhero comic book escapades became regular imports growing up in the Philippines in the 1970s and 80s. I absorbed these almost as fast as they arrived. The narratives became more personal as I integrated my own projected character playing with the action figure toys associated with these western mythologies.
My cardboard cutout series explores a photographic and sculptural approach, referencing the action figure toys I used to play with. From those childhood play sessions, I have become aware that I seldom identified as the hero, but instead projected myself as either an enamored ingénue like in romance comics, as a loyal adoring sidekick, or as the cohort that would get into trouble but eventually rescued by the hero.
Now conscious of my own boyhood wanderlust and yearning for placement in these fictionalized spaces of America and American characters, and the way I identified in those escapist realms, I question how those make-believe roles live on with me in the real world as an adult Filipino American gay man.
Revisiting those narratives, I draft, sculpt and then photograph black cardboard cutout landscapes, including myself, the superheroes and fantasy male lead characters of my youth. These photographs are about examining attitudes, especially mine, regarding desire and American masculinities in these genres of fiction. They are about how I wanted to be amongst those action figures, and much more.
Lawrence Getubig is an artist and photographer based in Alexandria, VA. He received his MFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in conjunction with Tufts University in 2008, under the mentorship of Jeannie Simms and Bonnie Donohue. He has taught at various higher education institutions, including Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore and Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids. He is interested in American pop culture, masculinity, cartoon superheroes, science fiction and fantasy and how these function as currencies in global transactions of escapist consumption and identity construction. Getubig was an artist-in-residence at CPW in 2009.