Steven Tetrault (°1991, Cincinnati, United States) is an artist who works in a variety of media. By using an ever-growing archive of found documents to create autonomous artworks, Tetrault tries to create works in which the actual event still has to take place or just has ended: moments evocative of atmosphere and suspense that are not part of a narrative thread. The drama unfolds elsewhere while the build-up of tension is frozen to become the memory of an event that will never take place.
His artworks sometimes radiate a cold and latent violence. At times, disconcerting beauty emerges. The inherent visual seductiveness, along with the conciseness of the exhibitions, further complicates the reception of their manifold layers of meaning. By creating situations and breaking the passivity of the spectator, he wants to amplify the astonishment of the spectator by creating compositions or settings that generate tranquil poetic images that leave traces and balances on the edge of recognition and alienation.
His works are an investigation of concepts such as authenticity and objectivity by using an encyclopaedic approach and quasi-scientific precision and by referencing documentaries, ‘fact-fiction’ and popular scientific equivalents. By emphasising aesthetics, he creates intense personal moments masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal, luring the viewer round and round in circles.
His works doesn’t reference recognisable form. The results are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation becomes multifaceted. By applying a wide variety of contemporary strategies, he tries to increase the dynamic between audience and author by objectifying emotions and investigating the duality that develops through different interpretations.
His work urge us to renegotiate art as being part of a reactive or – at times – autistic medium, commenting on oppressing themes in our contemporary society. By putting the viewer on the wrong track, he wants the viewer to become part of the art as a kind of added component. Art is entertainment: to be able to touch the work, as well as to interact with the work is important.
His works are saturated with obviousness, mental inertia, clichés and bad jokes. They question the coerciveness that is derived from the more profound meaning and the superficial aesthetic appearance of an image. By parodying mass media by exaggerating certain formal aspects inherent to our contemporary society, he often creates several practically identical works, upon which thoughts that have apparently just been developed are manifested: notes are made and then crossed out again, ‘mistakes’ are repeated.
His works never shows the complete structure. This results in the fact that the artist can easily imagine an own interpretation without being hindered by the historical reality. By applying abstraction, he creates with daily, recognizable elements, an unprecedented situation in which the viewer is confronted with the conditioning of his own perception and has to reconsider his biased position.
His works are based on inspiring situations: visions that reflect a sensation of indisputability and serene contemplation, combined with subtle details of odd or eccentric, humoristic elements. By demonstrating the omnipresent lingering of a ‘corporate world’, he touches various overlapping themes and strategies. Several reoccurring subject matter can be recognised, such as the relation with popular culture and media, working with repetition, provocation and the investigation of the process of expectations.
His works are made through strict rules which can be perceived as liberating constraints. Romantic values such as ‘inspiration’, ‘genius’ and ‘authenticity’ are thereby neutralised and put into perspective. By applying a poetic and often metaphorical language, he seduces the viewer into a world of ongoing equilibrium and the interval that articulates the stream of daily events. Moments are depicted that only exist to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find poetic meaning in everyday life.
His works are given improper functions: significations are inversed and form and content merge. Shapes are dissociated from their original meaning, by which the system in which they normally function is exposed. Initially unambiguous meanings are shattered and disseminate endlessly. By manipulating the viewer to create confusion, he reflects on the closely related subjects of archive and memory. This often results in an examination of both the human need for ‘conclusive’ stories and the question whether anecdotes ‘fictionalise’ history.
His works often refers to pop and mass culture. Using written and drawn symbols, a world where light-heartedness rules and where rules are undermined is created. By rejecting an objective truth and global cultural narratives, his works references post-colonial theory as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of the capitalist market system.
His works appear as dreamlike images in which fiction and reality meet, well-known tropes merge, meanings shift, past and present fuse. Time and memory always play a key role. By using popular themes such as sexuality, family structure and violence, he plays with the idea of the mortality of an artwork confronted with the power of a transitory appearance, which is, by being restricted in time, much more intense.
His works are on the one hand touchingly beautiful, on the other hand painfully attractive. Again and again, the artist leaves us orphaned with a mix of conflicting feelings and thoughts. By examining the ambiguity and origination via retakes and variations, he makes works that can be seen as self-portraits. Sometimes they appear idiosyncratic and quirky, at other times, they seem typical by-products of American superabundance and marketing.
His works demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves.
Wooster Goobs #he Exhibitions, Further Complicates The Reception Of Their Manifold Layers Of Meaning. By Emphasising Aesthetics, He Seduces The Viewer Into A World Of Ongoing Equilibrium And The Interval That Articulates The Stream Of Daily Events. Moments Are Depicted That Only Exist To Punctuate The Human Drama In Order To Clarify Our Existence And To Find Poetic Meaning In Everyday Life.
His Works Are Saturated With Obviousness, Mental Inertia, Clichés And Bad Jokes. They Question The Coerciveness That Is Derived From The More Profound Meaning And The Superficial Aesthetic Appearance Of An Image. By Parodying Mass Media By Exaggerating Certain Formal Aspects Inherent To Our Contemporary Society, He Tries To Create Works In Which The Actual Event Still Has To Take Place Or Just Has Ended: Moments Evocative Of Atmosphere And Suspense That Are Not Part Of A Narrative Thread. The Drama Unfolds Elsewhere While The Build-up Of Tension Is Frozen To Become The Memory Of An Event That Will Never Take Place.
His Works Are Given Improper Functions: Significations Are Inversed And Form And Content Merge. Shapes Are Dissociated From Their Original Meaning, By Which The System In Which They Normally Function Is Exposed. Initially Unambiguous Meanings Are Shattered And Disseminate Endlessly. Goobs Wooster Currently Lives And Works In Solvang.## %# Rosado Mike