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Steven Masnjak

Nominated by Columbia College Chicago 

I consciously work to investigate the dogmatic contemporary assertion of material as the real. Through my work I create a dialogue between contemporary culture, rooted in the material, and ancient culture, rooted in the invisible, as a means to understand the prefigured internal psychic structures that link the two. I draw content from the evolution of cultural production, especially works of literature and art, to gain a sense of history—which I use to trace the origins of consciousness, the self and other.

Investigating the anthropomorphic desire to know the unknown, and the gravitational pull of desire on identity foregrounds my work. I play on the boundaries and intersections of desire and society; because of my sexuality, society forced me question the ethics of my desires and identity. I use my practice as a way to reflect questions of desire back on the viewer through use of provocative imagery. The ways the self is often at odds with culturally defined boundaries acts a threshold—an entry point—to examine the psyche in relationship culture and other, in order to unhinge the complex systems and structures that form identity.

 

Resident year: 
2016
Cohort Group: 
Artist Resident