Ostentatious men with wigs that nearly topple, billow and swirl, like plumage these wigs are meant to impress, and perhaps even threaten, evidence of wealth and power, symbols of status and examples of conspicuous consumption. These men are mocked by their own behavior, continually usurping the previous sovereign of style in order to preserve one’s self-complacency. Their mounds of hair piled high like towers reaching for the heavens render them useless, a virtuous disability that requires of them abstention from laborious labor. The beautiful becomes the grotesque; style surmounting function.
These men sit rigid and firm in their positions of power and deeply entrenched in their glory, so much so that they essentially become “monuments” of their own making. As a result birds move into their hair and natural events such as fire take their toll, all the while the big wigs struggle to save face and maintain their proud and victorious posture, ignoring their surroundings and the ensuing predicaments.
Justin Richel’s witty assemblages flirt with entropy. This image shows an artist’s materials—both his real materials like wood and paint, and the materials of his imagination, like lines—exploding into a work of art. The 2002 graduate of Maine College of Art has had fellowships at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts and at the Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He’s received several Good Idea grants from the Maine Arts Commission, and he has shown at Ross+Ross Galerie, in Stuttgart, Germany and Galerie Voss in Düsseldorf, Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and at the June Fitzpatrick Gallery. His work was included in the 2013 Portland Biennial and shown at the Fitchburg Art Museum in Massachusetts, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art and the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts.