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The objects exhibited by Alan Disparte pose questions about the values and expectations forced on us by a strict and moralizing society. Rather than serving as the artist's personal criticism of a society that compels individuals to deny their inherent nature, Disparte's objects are mirrors through which viewers pass, like Alice, to investigate their own identity and beliefs.

 

The visceral qualities of these haunting objects arouse a passionate response from the viewer, a reaction that pleases the artist very much. Disparte intentionally works his objects like actors on a stage, creating characters and situations that draw--sometimes in a subtle fashion and sometimes quite forcefully--a flood of feelings from the viewer.

 

His objects are dark, not because they are visually frightening, but because they challenge the viewer to search through childhood memories and once again experience the mixed emotions and confusion of those early years. Through his use of toys and words Disparte addresses identity issues, reminding us of how difficult it can be for someone who is "different" to find a sense of self in this world.

 

Framed building blocks that spell "Homo", for example, sit or stand as though commanded not to move. Are they fearful of feelings they don't understand? Are they afraid of expressing feelings they have been conditioned to suppress? What the viewer might not realize is that the blocks, which are not fixed, can be removed to reveal different letters. Labels that we often accept without question can indeed be changed, if we choose to change them.

 

Relying on only a few materials, Disparte is guided in his art-making by emotion. He avoids planning the work and instinctively pieces together bits of metal, plastic, and wood. The words that he sometimes adds to a surface are immediate, as though playing a word-association game. The artist does not create an object with a specific meaning in mind, but he frequently discovers later that something he made evokes specific feelings for him. Ultimately, Disparte intends for his work to serve as personal icons, not just for himself, but also for the viewer, that unlock memories buried by the experience of life.

 

-J.F.

 

Click here for an essay by Jim Fisher

 


Jim Fisher is the Executive Director of Visual Aid.

church
8 1/2 x 13 x 4

homo man
6 x 8 1/2 x 4

Standing homo man
4 x 11 x 3

hammered
8 x 5 3/4

open window
8 x 6

kimberly jrs.
3 x 8 x 2

kimberly jrs.
3 x 8 x 2

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Other Artists in "Scavengers and Seers"