Nick Pena

Region: South

Dislocation best describes the condition of the American family. Our "throwaway culture" values individual success and allows the pursuit of happiness to become an obsessive behavior. My attempts to understand this condition can be found in the poetic tension of each piece -between the background and the foreground, the picturesque and the ordinary, optimism (hope) with immobility (tragedy).

My aim is to create a convincing world that is memorable and strange. In this world the silent aftermath of vehicular accidents act as metaphors -that visually communicate the tension existing between nostalgia for past family structures and a culture that has abandoned traditional family modes.

In the aftermath the displaced cultural artifacts symbolize the loss of stability. The iconography of sunsets, clouds, and divine light, found in 19th century Romantic landscape paintings evoke feelings of nostalgia and hope. This attempt to capture the likeness of a perfect world only highlights my failure to do so. The imperfections are accentuated in two ways, by creating an environment with perspective that doesn't quite add up, and by juxtaposing a wrecked and abandoned station wagon in a picturesque landscape. In the end, silent moments suspended in paint allude to our failure to maintain stability in an attempt for happiness.