Americana and the history of American visual culture is a major influence on Tony Tasset’s recent work. The iconography and folk art sources that inspire Tasset’s practice are approached in dialogue with minimalism, conceptual, modern art histories and aesthetics. ‘Bear’ is inspired by classic cartoon characters such as Baloo and Yogi Bear, and their contrast and dialogue with the style and presence of bear sculptures that greet visitors at amusement parks and road side attractions.
‘Bear’ has a very distinct pair of eyes – deep caverns in a rainbow spectrum – that are gouged out, leaving thumbprint crevices from the original clay used to create the sculpture. This gesture breaks the cartoon allusion, a nod to Modernist materiality. Tasset describes it as follows, ‘I thought of ‘Bear’ as naïve, overweight, slack-shouldered and slack-jawed. He seems to be caught off guard, dumfounded, in awe. I thought of him as American.’
Fiberglass and paint | 152 × 102 × 63.5 cm
Kavi Gupta | C26