Bryan Allen Robertson

Artist's Statement

Artist's Statement

I have always been deeply concerned with the causes inequality. I continue to wonder why there is an immense disparity between people, places, and ways of life. This artistic style of thinking traces itself back to the still life painters of Northern Europe who used symbolism to depict mercantile disparities between classes. My work asks questions about the nature of neo-colonial financial systems, unified media narratives, and the causes and effects of war. 

While these topics are complex and solutions remain elusive, modern thinkers like Arjun Appadurai and Sheldon Wolin address them. These writers describe a kind of cultural Pangaea forming from the consolidation of global wealth.  These ideas affect how my art interprets what I see as a commercial autocracy projecting power across the world. 

All of my work starts off as words or phrases or tracers of images. The art comes to life through a forensic investigation aided by Internet image searches. In my Altar of Commerce paintings, I address auspicious environmental and agricultural concerns like genetically modified food, personalized transportation, the consumption of beef, the role of plastics, and the fantasies of consumption that satiate our create comforts. How does the human drive for comfort both define and structure inequality? 

My digital maps express the projection of power both domestically and internationally, building on the idea of how comfort is controlled and distributed.  I created these maps with a set of parameters based on the economic status of countries across the world. Whether or not a country is considered a “G-7,” “G-20,” “developed,” or “undeveloped,” nation determines the commodity, media logo, corporate logo, monetary symbol, or national symbol depicted within its borders. Cliché signs of a spreading consumer culture follow the lines of conflict across the globe and highlight active cultural fault lines. In my work, these shifting tectonic plates point to the continually changing location and scope of inequality.  

Ultimately, for me, 2D artwork functions as a way to synthesize a diversity of information (geographic, ethnic, architectural, and photographic) into a single pictorial space. I hijack well-known symbols and rearrange them into a personal set of  hieroglyphics, that externalize the internal experience of today’s rapid-fire culture. My paintings and collages examine this transient state of contemporary life, through the footprints of photography, digital networks, big data, and corporate America.