Modular Epic Landscape
Walliecamp is an ongoing project initiated in the summer of 2013. Wallecamp started as a hybrid painting / backdrop that covered the three walls of my studio at SVA's Art Practice department. My impulse had been to create a diorama for myself, to stage myself inside an image of a stereotypical desert landscape of the American West. Through the use of this imagery, I wanted to investigate constructions of the American Dream as it relates to labor, wealth, technology and quests for spiritual satisfaction. In other words, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The question became, what happens inside this space? Is it a painting? Is it a backdrop? Historically, this distinction is key, differentiating the complete view, the "window on a world" that is the panting from the performative or theatrical space established by the backdrop. In a sense, backdrops can be paintings, that is, they are often rendered in paint, but paintings are not backdrops.
I started holding "campsite parties" in my studio such as The Gold Rush Party and The Kool Aid Drinking Party, where everyone drank from a restyled Kool-Aid bottle and then played dead. During the Gold Rush Party a soundtrack of pop music that mentions gold was played and I guided participants on a tour of SVA's Chelsea building holding mirrors to their chins so that they appeared to be walking on the ceiling.