James Van Arsdale - Artist - Santa Barbara, California

(Safe Inside My) Green Zone, 2007
Mixed-media installation, Dimensions variable

Shown below on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara in 2007  - read Josef Woodard's review
View the PDF exhibition brochure here - Read Kim Beil's essay for the brochure here

Scouting games, toy army soldiers, war movies, and Westerns comprise artist James Van Arsdale’s artistic vocabulary. These subjects, found in the mixed-media installation (Safe Inside My) Green Zone, suggest a boyish nostalgia with a particularly sinister undertone. Here, the artist uses play and war as devices to examine the nature of societal relationships. What is learned when engaging a game or toy; what tactics or rules exist within the realm of play, and how do we interpret childhood games into adulthood? Van Arsdale’s carefully-selected materials create a uniquely rich environment that calls attention to details of marketing and commoditization inherent in children’s toys.

Resembling a fictional war room, (Safe Inside My) Green Zone refers to the military designation for a fortified compound, maintained by heavy firepower and designated as a safe site.  However, as current conflicts demonstrate, these green zone areas provide little more than the illusion of safety for those located inside its imaginary borders.  Along these lines, Van Arsdale presents similarly self-destructive safety devices.  Exploding Sandbags, designed to protect against explosions, are themselves agents of destruction.  Ominous and acrid Gas Clouds hover over the area poisoning all that inhabits it.  Cast plastic Bunkers inhabit the zone, reminiscent of a space age looking command center, an old world place of worship, or a giant Jolly Rancher-machine gun nest. Outside CAF in the Glass Box, Van Arsdale’s Grenade Popsicles suggest Lifesaver candies—those brightly colored markers of sweetness and childhood—yet his are deadly.   -   Miki Garcia, Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara

JamesVanArsdale, Green Zone install shot
Green Zone install shot
JamesVanArsdale, Green Zone install shot
Green Zone - detail
Green Zone - detail
Green Zone - detail
JamesVanArsdale, Wall Painting detail
Green Zone - detail
 installation detail
Explosion #2
   

 

 

  All content ©2000-2012 James Van Arsdale |||| contact