Miami, FL & Washington, D.C. based artist Noel Kassewitz   |   noelkassewitz@gmail.com   |   © 2017 Noel Kassewitz

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ROCOCO REMASTERED, [2018 - ongoing]

My latest body of work examines how a painter copes with a rapidly changing cultural and environmental landscape. Using experimental techniques that blur the line between painting and sculpture, passive and active object, cultural artifact and survival tool, I work to examine this moment in time through the lens of art history, rising social pressures, and pseudo-disaster preparedness. My process is intentionally low-tech and jerry-rigged, indicative of how the majority of the world will haphazardly be forced to adapt. In weaving, sewing, painting, dying, and salvaging materials, the studio becomes part wistful shrine, part research and development lab for continuous adaptations and augmentations needed for painting to survive.

Rococo Remastered: Sunset on the Empire

 40" x 60" x 7", specially adhered pigment on synthetic sailcloth, expanding marine foam, industrial straps,

plastic buckles, wooden oars, 2018.

Set includes: painting, framed documentation photograph ( 24"x18" archival print in 32"x26" frame), and video (2:03)

 

[In Public Collection, University of Maryland]

How does an artist prepare for climate change?

While there are myriad ways the change is occurring, one most concerning to me – an artist and Miami native – is rising sea levels. How will works that are supposed to last hundreds of years for future generations even make it twenty years at this rate?

 

About a year and a half ago, I started exploring various ways to make paintings “climate change ready.” I have spent time extensively researching

materials and consulted with an expert art conservator. I learned to weave my own canvas and embed buoys and other found flotation devices into the fabric of my paintings, as exemplified in the ongoing series They say hope floats, but I'd rather be sure. I have tried approaches as simple and playful as wrapping existing paintings in common pool noodles and as complex as creating new waterproof paintings using synthetic sailcloth & marine foam, as in Rococo Remastered.

Rococo Remastered is a body of floating works that draws it's aesthetics from the Rococo, a time in history I am fascinated by. The term is used for a particular style that was very popular in the few decades leading up to the the French Revolution. It was characterized by a pastel palette and a focus on the playful, decadent, and frivolous by a governing aristocracy who were intently ignoring the warning signs of a system out of balance. Then the French Revolution happened… which rebalanced the system, but at a very bloody cost. I can’t help but relate this chapter of history to the current one we are in. There is growing inequality between the classes in society and evidence that environmentally we can’t continue business as usual. What caught my eye artistically was that pastel colors were suddenly in vogue again. Do we use this color to soothe or fool ourselves as outside pressures builds?