Emoticons for a public square is an exhibition of new works on paper by American artist Brian Moran. Moran uses reoccurring motifs, symbols and illustrations to redirect, both factual and fictional reference points through paintings and drawings, creating new and counter perspectives.
Conceived especially for a public square, the show will comprise of Moran’s latest series of ‘emoticons’, a body of work he has been producing since 2007. Each work comprises of three parts: a mixture of debased shelters and homes (a bird house, a dog house, a rickety log cabin, a dungeon) as well as objects used for divination or fortune telling (crystals, a crystal ball, a torch) all act as stand ins for the would be ‘eyes’, with a cartoon mouth grimacing below - whose reappearance animates an infinite number of configurations. Here visual abbreviation becomes a lavish, sometimes gothic, incitement of another space or dead end.
This body of work forms part of Moran’s ongoing project entitled ‘Engineering Consent’, which is based on the crossover between psychoanalysis and marketing that manifest in the 20th century and endures to the present day. In brief, psychoanalysis was employed as a tool with the aim of manipulating and controlling the unconscious desires of an otherwise irrational society through the advertising industry.
In Vitrine, Moran challenges the idea of what separates a private and public space, in his words ‘the pieces are meant to play out a cartoon version of my equation of: private space + ideals = public space’. By capitalising on a public display of works, the artist exposes a desire to communicate more complex states of being outside of predisposed, collective understandings and expectations within visual language. His interest in the substitution of basic typographic symbols, cartoon images and memes for more complex subjective states, serve to reveal hidden, dark, psychological wants.
Curator Katherine Gardner
Brian Moran (born. 1978 Los Angeles) lives and works in San Francisco, he graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, London in 2002. Solo exhibitions include: The Book of the Dead 10, Gregor Staiger, Zurich (2013); Engineering Consent 5: The Soap Carving Contest, Kynastonmcshine, London (2012); Horror Vacui, Herald Street, London (2007). Group exhibitions include: Mexico City, Zinger Presents, Amsterdam (2010); David Burton, Ruth Ewan, Brian Moran, Rob Tufnell at Sutton Lane, London (2010).