The function of the visual in consumer culture is to overwhelm and imprint, rendering us passive vessels for received wisdom. Vast databases of disconnected facts, driven by arcane mathematical formulae rather than by a creative or logical progression of thought, do more to confuse and disconnect us from the information we need to control our world than they do to facilitate it. My work is an attempt to counter this trend toward disembodied “intelligence.”
I firmly believe in the power of the visual, and my work is my voice: a social critique and a visual challenge to all the cultural detritus we are force-fed every day. My art is about looking at things in a slightly different way, and is intended to undermine the status quo with wit and humor.I work both large and small, from installations to artists books, and use a variety of media, from traditional painting to photography to xerox and assemblage. The critique largely determines the presentation.
Mary Ellen Croteau on Bottlecaps
Plastic bottle caps - like bags, a plastic product that can’t be/ isn’t recycled. I conceived of an “endless column” of these caps, after Constantin Brancusi’s iconic modernist sculpture. One became two, and two became many. While making these columns, I noticed the smaller caps tended to nest inside one another, and the color combinations reminded me of Chuck Close’s painted portraits. So I got sidetracked and started on a large self-portrait (which I titled CLOSE)made entirely of bottle caps. The piece measures 8 feet by 7 feet. No paint is used, except to delineate a few shadows where white board was showing through. In a few cases, the caps are trimmed in order to fit a tight space.
“My Eye,” which at 30” x 38” is about 5 times the detail of the eye in my large self-portrait.I am currently working on more bottle cap mosaics, so look here for future projects.