Clusterfubar as a word does not exist in the English dictionary. Los Angeles-based artist Darren Hostetter uses this invented title, part word and part acronym, as a moniker to describe our current socio-political climate.
In his 2nd solo exhibition, the artist offers his latest series of 25 paintings that focuses on the all-encompassing industry of war, exploring conflicting cultural ideologies through the depiction of low- versus high-technological weaponry. Systems of devastation and surveillance such as suicide vests, improvised explosive devices, laser and GPS-guided missiles, submarines, helicopters and unmanned aerial satellites and cameras take center stage. Hostetter’s paintings juxtapose renderings of modern day weaponry with color field backgrounds, often in repeated, graphic patterns that border on abstract compositions seen from afar.
Clusterfubar 2 [the new, more fashionable vests] (2010), a 16-by-23 in. acrylic on aircraft aluminum painting, depicts a myriad of suicide vests floating amidst a tan-colored space; each vest is fashioned in western designer labels, reminiscent of Chanel and LV handbags. Here, Hostetter pokes fun at the conventional perception of an opposing culture that hates western ideologies but loves western fashion. In Clusterfubar 11 [we have everything under control], a light blue 20-by-24 in. painting portrays a column of interconnecting surveillance cameras suspended in the air by a large balloon; 4 similar formations of cameras are positioned in the background, creating an ominous and ambiguous narrative. What are these devices guarding and inspecting? Who’s operating them? On another level, the cameras are strung up, as if for sale in the same manner in which automobiles with attention grabbing balloons are offered on a lot to potential buyers. Hostetter’s paintings elicit multiple readings, never providing only one answer and always posing questions.
Hostetter earned his Master of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting in 2006 and his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration in 1991 from Cal State University Long Beach. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Los Angeles, New York, and Paris. Recent shows include OsCene 2010: Contemporary Art and Culture in OC at Laguna Art Museum and Mass Emergencies and Flying Machine at Angels Gate Cultural Center.
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