Robert Larson, Marlboro Culture Redesignedon October 8th, 2011 at 12:18 am
A meander through Santa Cruz Open Studios at the Tannery will fetch you social stimulus indefinitely, inspirational spark at times and intellectual enrichment yet occasionally depending upon which path you choose. Those little green signs can lead you into a whole new realm of discovery, or make you wish you’d turned in the opposite direction, all of which keeps things fun and interesting. So as last weekend’s Sunday Open Studios carried on, that turn of the corner leading into a series of large scale, abstract minimalist work brought a welcome surprise.
The stark red and white geometric arrangements were clearly a collage of some sort, meticulously rendered, strong in their patterned simplicity. As we progressed further into artist Robert Larson’s lair, the context grew increasingly evident. These gorgeous pieces were constructed from discarded cigarette packages, mainly Marlboros, their various state of disrepair adding intensely to the statement of the individual works.
Larson’s work takes found object art to a whole new level. The elements he uses represent some serious issues within our society. The careful display and reconstruction creates a strong aesthetic to combine with an inference too powerful to ignore, reminding us that sometimes the most effective means of raising awareness is to simply pose the question. While far from subtle, neither is Larson’s work didactic, leaving the viewer to appreciate the beauty and technique all the while knowing the message is never far behind. Of course how you choose to interpret that message is purely up to you.