I borrow so much of what I use. I think of myself much less as an author
and more like a poacher or a translator or a mediator.
~ Paul Pfeiffer Video Artist
When USF MFA Graduate Robb Fladry grew up, he had lots of TV dinners – not necessarily the frozen kind – but you know, the kind you eat in front of the TV. He fell asleep by flickering TV light – perhaps taking it all in subliminally. And now, says Robb, “I carry a TV in my pocket.” That’s an upbringing many American’s under the age of 50 share with Rob, so it’s no wonder he calls on this base of knowledge to frame his work. Robb calls himself a “re-mixer of popular culture,” which seems a reasonable assessment of the work he is showing at the Starting Fires exhibition, now showing at USFCAM.
Robb says: My work is fed by popular culture. It is the mix of fame, violence, love stories, fear, confusion, news, cartoons, pictures and videogames that I have been taking in since I was a kid. It is grand sentiments in concisely timed packages. It is the blurry mix of fantasy and reality. It is loud music and meta self reference. This language has the power to invoke ideas, memories and feelings. Most of the work I have done is an effort to process and illuminate this constant barrage of information.
If you stop by the USFCAM you can catch a couple of Robb’s video projects, including Leave the gun. Take the cannoli. A cat’s a better mother than you. For this piece, Robb takes two of America’s most beloved films; The Godfather, a popular movie among male audiences and Gone with the Wind, a female favorite.
The viewer’s memories and nostalgia about the original films are important to me. I’ve always stated that I try to use source material that is instantly recognizable. I want the viewer to have a preexisting relationship with the film I have cut up to create a new work… By removing the story-arc of traditional Hollywood film-making, I provide a space for contemplation and viewer constructed narratives with a medium that is normally one-sided. The ambiguity of the work can continue to evolve for the viewer to encompass multiple and changing narratives.
Robb’s influences include Christian Marclay, who has worked in residence on several occasions and has multiple projects produced right here on campus at Graphicstudio (see his work here).
So stop by USFCAM before May 7, 2011 to see Starting Fires, with work from Robb Fladry and the rest of our MFA student exhibitors!