By Simone Kussatz
Therefore what would usually appear in the real world in plastic - Rubbermaid Brute trash cans and beer buckets – Merkel Hess turned into colorful glazed ceramics that are displayed in a group show “Wet Paint 2” along with the work of eight other artists at Steve Turner Contemporary, located in the Mid-Wilshire district across from LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art).
Merkel Hess' works, which are presented in either dark blues, light yellows and pinks, or a combination of dark blue on the outer and ocher or orange in the inner, remind one of the sculptures of Swedish-American pop artist, Claes Oldenburg, who also turned ordinary objects into art objects. Yet, Merkel Hess' work is much smaller in size and not been seen in public open spaces yet.
Furthermore, Merkel Hess, a former artist-in-residence at the 18th Streets Arts Center in Santa Monica, explained that since we live in a “hyper-consumer society”, where people are desensitized to the fact that the merchandise they find in current department stores were once luxury items, his work attempted to deal with this “by taking mundane, utilitarian objects and through a transformation of material, make them something for people to think about and consider more closely,” he explained.
For further information about the artist, please visit his website http://www.merkelhess.net/ or Steve Turner Contemporary's website http://www.steveturnercontemporary.com/
Photos by Simone Kussatz