Studio visit with Greg Haberny
Artist Statement: Utilizing the medium of installation, Greg Haberny integrates his multi-faceted artistic vision with his knowledge of filmmaking and creates what might be considered film sets and like a storyboard, the strategic decisions and quiet psychologies steer the viewer to take notice of his intentions individually and, as a whole.
Mixing influences from Alfred Hitchcock to Terry Richardson, Haberny’s grasp, awareness and assimilation of cultural iconography remain true to themselves. His regeneration of vintage comics, pin-up girls of yesteryear and baby boomer advertising opens an inner dialogue which shifts our perceptions and creates stories with individual works which participate in a larger experience within the installation. He creates a makeshift, yet nearly cinematic representation turning the gallery into a movie, one to be inhabited, rather than passively viewed.
The unsuspecting viewer of a Greg Haberny installation is torn from the dullness of the everyday and shoved into a violent landscape where greed, lust and ignorance have generated political corruption, wartime propaganda, unemployment, doped-up celebrities, oil disasters and out-of-control industrial policy. Within this environment one is left to identify with the actors, or perhaps victims – from bunnies to boy scouts – who hover between helplessness and defiance. Caught in the midst of fairy tales gone painfully wrong, Haberny’s cast of characters struggle to exist in a crisis of cultural wreckage.
Through a heavily worked technique of cutting, scraping, affixing and the makeshift repair of painted and found elements, Haberny creates and recreates the evidence of damage. The resulting physicality of the work is akin to bodily injury. Like broken bones and bruises following an accident, Haberny’s works expose the shattered remains of our cultural anatomy, struck senseless by a media frenzy of commodified fear. The constructed visual “pain” is spontaneous and immediate, causing bewilderment followed by a period of reflection. In the end, Haberny concludes that our contemporary wasteland leaves nothing to define. His response is to push forward through the trauma.
Despite the work’s fierce bravado, there remains a perceptible sense of hope for transformation, witnessed in the artist’s attention to detail and a focus on creating miniature stories within each piece. As one might tenderly sew up a rough wound, the artist discloses his methods of working through pain to arrive at healing. Each highly-crafted tableau serves dual function as document and warning, perhaps with the unspoken desire for a future beyond “nothing.”