Photographers Erik Boker and Kevin Van Aelst are visual evaluators of the everyday article. Both artists use photography as a tool for manipulation and appraisal—cataloguing consumer items to make aesthetic statements about subjects like American consumption and the environment. With nearly twinned satirical wit, Boker’s series Product Dissections and the majority of Van Aelst’s work offer “New Visions” of contemporary consumer products. It is more than just the photograph but also their handiwork that defines these two artists. Their photographs become duplicable documents of their sculptural and/or illustrated constructions. Boker’s Aquafresh, Extra Fresh and Van Aelst’s Elsewhere (Tiny Sunsets) were selected for the Center’s “New Visions” exhibition.
(Photo credit: Aquafresh, Extra Fresh by Erik Boker)
(Photo credit: Erik Boker. From the Product Dissections series.)
Erik Boker’s on his Product Dissections series:
This project is an ongoing exploration of the roles of art, science, taxonomy, the consumer, the museum and institution, product and marketing, and our relationships with seemingly insignificant objects and materials that affect us daily. It approaches issues of anatomy and archaeology, while peeling back the skins of consumerism offers a revealed view within the plastic layers of what we consume—a delicate tension between death, health, and hygiene, collided with the extremities of marketing and the bold, impractical, calculated colors and titles that hold a mirror to our culture of need and our ‘extreme’ yearning for cleanliness.
(Photo credit: Elsewhere (Tiny Sunsets) by Kevin Van Aelst)
(Photo credit: Heart by Kevin Van Aelst)
For Van Aelst, his method of working is akin to Boker’s:
My color photographs consist of common artifacts and scenes from everyday life, which have been rearranged, assembled, and constructed into various forms, patterns, and illustrations … The minutiae all around us is sometimes capable of communicating much larger ideas.
Van Aelst’s photographs are currently featured in weekly installments in The Sunday New York Times Magazine supplementing commentaries by Virginia Heffernan. He conceptualized the following image for Heffernan’s piece, Articles of Faith.
(Photo credit: Kevin Van Aelst as seen in The New York Times)
More of Erik’s work can be found at www.erikboker.com
More of Kevin’s work can be found at www.kevinvanaelst.com