"American Women III" -- after Delacroix' "Liberty Leading the People"

"American Women" (dismantling the border) III -- after Delacroix' "Liberty Leading the People" / 60"x72" / 2018
"American Women" (dismantling the border) III -- after Delacroix' "Liberty Leading the People" / 60"x72" / 2018

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New Work: "Rogues & Reinas Series" & " Fight Like a Girl Series"

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Erin Currier on ¡COLORES! - New Mexico PBS

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Erin Currier, Humanist American Artist

Erin Currier American Artist Painter
Erin Currier photograph by Claudia Toutain-Dorbec

Within what Hegel described as the “immeasurable realm” of individual works of art, the conditions and subjects that motivate Erin Currier’s remarkable portraiture have special significance. In a linkage that is not merely theory or proposal, her work continues a tradition of visual story-telling that exhumes from globalized society not only the visages of activists and warriors of social justice but also the dignified, humble, and internally powerful ordinary people around the world who struggle to break free from the bonds of economic, racial, gender, and sexual servitude. Currier’s increasingly engaged art work continues the tradition of Diego Rivera and the great social-realist muralists of Latin America, as well as the intensely personal philosophical conscience found in the works of insurrectionary cultural critics like Walter Benjamin and Herbert Marcuse. For Currier, whether marooned in the high-rise housing of mega-city outskirts or squatting in lowincome settlements, the world’s laborers and migrants personify the mad toll humanity pays for its immersion in the predatory dystopia of materialism, injustice, and waste. Having established a presence in New Mexico over a decade ago, Currier has gone on to attain prominence in the fine art of collage portraiture and painting by pursuing an uncommon path growing from her natural integration of socio-political beliefs with the sheer joy of art-making. Combining the human realm she contacts in her extensive travels around the globe -- its individuals, cultures, and struggles -- with its refuse and consumer waste, Currier charts globalization’s increasing social and economic disparity in a way that sidesteps the tradition of archetypal portraiture. Untinged by trademark clichés of media-heroic male figures from the pantheon of political immortals, Currier’s figures shun the ideology of iconicity and grand romantic rhetoric, concentrating instead on another order of representation: what Professor Nathalia Jaramillo calls “everyday citizen-subjects who labor and love against the social backdrop of economic and personal exploitation.” Travel to forty countries in the past decade has given Currier the creative substance for collage and sketchbook rehearsals that later become her larger works of printed ephemera, handbills, posters, and fragments of extraneous materials fluidly joined with masterful figurative painting. Given the originality of Currier’s body of work, it is hard to find comparable artistic treatment of her concerns. The first decade of the twenty-first century has been a funeral decade, interring the hopes and broken promises of the previous century’s ideological and political failures. In Currier’s travels during that time, she has witnessed biblical conjugations of war, natural disaster, economic devastation, and the transgression of even the most elementary environmental common sense. Throughout, her subject remains people, but people with a voice -- reminding us that art can be fully engaged in the kind of humanism found at the core of religion, science, and politics. Her collages define both her subject matter and her medium. She draws by tearing, and the implied violence of the torn edge sets up counterpoints between word and figure. It is a combination of violence and reflection as one traverses its condensations and gestures that invokes the sublime dimension of Currier’s focus -- the human being, the one who, rather than wallow in the breakup of the imagination, undergoes a betrothal to the sensible force of personal and social transformation, and thereby gains a voice. For Erin Currier, the struggle is not to reproduce a secondary sublime image or aesthetic semblance, nor to evoke a negative representation that falls within the boundaries of art’s institutional frames. Instead, over the years, her aesthetic outlook and creative art have focused increasingly on the meaning and nature of emancipatory struggles around the world, fluidly joining descriptions of physical environments with penetrating glimpses of psychology, vulnerability, and strength.

               

                  Anthony Austin Hassett, Santa Fe, 2012