Sean Aldrin @ Ace Gallery Los Angeles Project Room
Sean Aldrin is a truly a product of his environment – both his time in art school and working in corporate media. Aldrin uses advertising tactics to an artistic end by creating a logo for an invented brand: Idea. This series of Aldrin's aims to demystify the process of art making, peeling back layers to get to the crux of conception, thus the horizontal oval shape – the embryo, the egg. He takes the same concept, which in this case is literally the word “Idea,” and fleshes it out nine times in different languages, exploiting assumptions about communication, translation, and linguistics. Idea is a product of globalized capitalism and commercialization, mass consumption, and the vacuous nature of internationally pervasive corporate brands.
The Idea series uses a word as content for the image, and, in doing so, plays with language and image in intriguing ways. By using light-boxes with his language, Aldrin visually links ingenuity with light, as the English language does with words such as brilliant and bright. The elliptical light-boxes, which also derive their shape from the parabolic orbit of a comet, act as sources of light, yet the light derives from electricity, which comes from the grid, which energy has to be physically made, all coming from another's idea. One idea can spark many thoughts, as the big bang grew exponentially, so can thoughts surrounding Idea.
The light-boxes also signal the familiar image of a light going off in someone's head when inspiration strikes. Aldrin sardonically commodifies inspiration in putting his ideas for sale. Aldrin uses the language and design of international branding to invoke the their cultural connotations. Global companies are usually known for inexpensive, comprehendible, and fashionable design; however, that image is undermined by the fact that these products are not uilt to last. Using repetition, Aldrin's series sarcastically insinuates that contemporary onceptual practice is mass-produced in the same manner as major brand-name products. Likewise Aldrin postulates, the art school graduate is the product of a corporate art education scheme – turning artists out as marketable products within a global currency system. Aldrin's experience in the corporate entertainment sector includes working for MGM Worldwide Television and Warner Brothers WB Network in 2005, which is when he began his Idea series. Embracing a neo-Pop aesthetic, he needed to negotiate his allegiances to the art and commercial entertainment worlds – the two existing poles apart. Aldrin attended Art Center from 1994-96, where Jack Goldstein, who hijacked commercial cinema logos for his own art, had been advisor and influence. In 2006, Aldrin participated in Art Center's graduate survey exhibition Supersonic, where Dave Hickey served as his advisor. More than a sense of irony, Aldrin is more interested in satire; however, he combines appropriation with a recodification of tropes.
Sean Aldrin completed an M.F.A. Otis College of Design in 2006 and, prior to this, completed B.F.A. in 1994 at Parsons School of Design. Aldrin also attended RISD and Art Center College of Design. Not content to leave art education behind, he now teaches at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. The structure of art education and the foundations of creative conception permeate throughout his artistic practice. Sean Aldrin was born in San Francisco in 1970. When Aldrin is not teaching in Jefferson City, MO he lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.