This exhibition of recent work by Andy Mister continues his exploration of the boundary between mechanical and manual reproduction. Working with images appropriated from vintage photographs and deftly mimicking the Xerox-aesthetic of punk zines and album covers, Mister’s drawings question how meaning is created or lost through the act of “copying.” In Vanishing Point, the artist turns his attention away from the overtly political themes of his previous work and toward nature-based photography. Translating the grandeur and natural beauty of a landscape through a tough, dirty, printed aesthetic gives the works in this exhibition an incisive edge, like a conservationist’s message delivered with punk-rock urgency.
Drawn completely freehand and made to replicate the look of a coarse, mechanically printed image, Mister’s drawings of landscapes and flowers purposely disrupt the connection between image and aesthetic. In works like Convincing Us That the Desert Was a Starscape and Red Sea, the inherent flatness of a “print” denies the open space expected in a landscape photograph. Another contrast can be seen in the trio of flower drawings, Rose Garden No. 2, The Violet Hour, and The Sun Was Sinking, where the heaviness of the black from the artist’s carbon pencil forces the romance and lyricism of a flower to become cold and static. Throughout the eight works on view in this exhibition, the disconnection between image and aesthetic acts as a sharp comment on nature’s role in contemporary society, especially in relation to contested issues like climate change and environmental protection.
Understanding the political agency of Vanishing Point, the artist says, “The subject matter in a lot of my work is pretty dark and cold. I am interested in seeing if I can take this aesthetic style or language that I have been working on and apply it to something light and beautiful. But I hope that people familiar with my more political work will take a little time with these pieces and think about how they were made and why.”