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LIGHTBOX – Chris Kienke

November 14, 2015

We’re excited to showcase “Flag Bomb, Champaign” as the third art installation featured in our LIGHTBOX program. Chris Kienke is a father, painter and professor at University of Illinois School of Art + Design.  Walk or drive by our 312 S. Neil St. storefront to view Chris’s beautiful collage, on display from September 1st – December 4th, 2015. 

As it always is with art, there is a great story behind his creations.  Here are Chris’s own words about the inspiration behind his art and the messages he conveys:

Exit Six

“For the past five years I have been working on a series of paintings titled Exit Six. In Exit Six, I am painting on photographs taken from the television screen when the electronic signal is interrupted. When the DVD gets stuck or the network is jammed, the image on screen freezes and becomes pixelated. Exit Six observes through this glitch. Using this “post-analog” approach to painting, I have been able to abstract each image to interrupt the viewing experience in order to reflect on notions of reality and “virtuality”. I am interested in how the visual language of film and television informs the creation of an individual’s beliefs and sense of identity. My “tele-visual” images integrate technology and painting, as both subject and process, which further challenges traditional notions of painting. Moreover, my examination of digital images now situates my work within the discourse on contemporary society and its relationship to technology.

Chris Kienke Collage

Flag Bombs

Flag Bombs extends the Exit Six body of work by abstracting specific images from the earlier series, through large-scale installation and collages. I am in the first year of developing this new body of work and through this new project I am searching for ways to visually describe the unexamined patriotism and unquestioned nationalism which I see broadcast through daily mediated experiences on social media, television news programs and films. The Flag Bombs project co-opts the shiny veneer of American patriotism and Hollywood action films: the flag, fireworks, stars and stripes, red, white and blue, explosions, hot rods and handguns in a very literal manner. The over the top nature of this Flag Bombs project is both a celebration of this great nation and a criticism of unquestioned nationalistic attitudes about patriotism, which impedes current debates about everything from the Keystone Pipeline to ISIS. With this series of work, I am creating artworks that get people to think about the social, political, environmental and economic damage caused by not questioning our countries actions and motives.”

See more of Chris Kienke’s art on his or his Instagram.

A BIG thank you to 40 North for their involvement and support of the LIGHTBOX program!