Daniel A Bruce

The Great Indoors

The Great Indoors


Tyler School of Art 

Tyler Gallery

Elkins Park, PA


April 23rd – 26th, 2008


This exhibition opens on April 23rd the day following Earth Day, which intends to inspire awareness of and appreciation for our natural environment. I am of the persuasion that few people still believe in humanity’s ability or willingness to improve our relationship with nature yet, few would disagree with the practice and consciousness that Earth Day promotes. I’m utilizing the word promote because Earth Day is a marketing event which uses the devices of advertising. These mechanisms render a profound collusion between the advertising sign and the overall order of society by operating with a two-sided agency of gratification and repression. Earth Day implements the very same ideological system that it intends to convert through the aestheticization of its subject.

Deep seeded contradictions of this kind are symptomatic of our postmodern condition and have inspired the specifications through which The Great Indoors has been conceived. It immediately references and personifies a process of displacement. A psychoanalyst would state that displacement is the transfer of an emotion from its original focus to another object, person, or situation. In physics, displacement is the distance of an oscillating body from its central position or point of equilibrium at any given moment. Offered instrumentally in tandem these meanings encompass both the physical and the psychological.

The resulting ambiguous installation was cognized and configured as a conflation or fabulation of power and value. My interest dwells in the moment when sign-value takes precedence over use-value and the location of this moment in the history of commodity. On that point, one of my most darling examples is the hamburger stand shaped like a hamburger. The work in this exhibition is aligned with what I have coined a 'bumpkin aesthetic'—the methodological combination of the awkward and unsophisticated with the ideals of artistic validity.‘Bumpkin Aesthetic’ as a methodological combination has a conflicted nature that simultaneously conjures and inverts both high and low cultural practice in advocation of ambiguity, heterogeneity, and freedom.