Unnaturally Natural

an artist consumes nature.

Walking, 2008

The phenomena of cultural media — outdoor magazines, catalogs, and other consumer-based products — has created an ever-widening gap between opposing forces. Here, construction hinders growth, accumulation betrays worth, and success replaces integrity. This is the continuous plight that drives me.

Regin Igloria

Regin Igloria’s drawings explore the intersection of “nature” and “culture” in the Great Outdoors, Inc. His most playful and powerful works are of luxury commodities that pretend to be neither luxuries, nor even commodities. Instead, they pretend to be escapes from consumerism to “nature,” vehicles for the pure pastoral life. Yet Igloria’s work also detects something sinister in this supposed escape. Safe-for-your-baby jogging strollers crash together as if in a ten-car pile up; a mountain bike contorts and twists around itself. Seen one way, they look like terrible accidents, seen another they start to resemble the bird’s eye view of the never-ending circuit of freeways on which said accident occurred.

Even nature itself takes on weird associations and overlaps with the anti-environmental. For instance, Igloria titles a study of what looks to be an evergreen tree, “Study For Growth Pattern,” as if it were the blueprint plans for a new exurban subdivision.

What is refreshing about these drawings is their combination of meditative observation, wry irony, and shock value. They are not works of didactic political art meant to shock. Instead they strike a tone or mood: the conflicted emotions of a person’s  who longs for the enchantment that the commodities of the hiking store might deliver, but who also remains deeply suspicious of what these commodities claim to offer.

In Igloria’s drawings, the more one longs to escape into nature, to get away, the more trapped he or she becomes. The jogging strollers become virtual SUVs in a sidewalk clog. The mountain bike fragments and breaks apart into endless loops. One reaches the evergreen trees deep in the wilderness, but all they resemble is the very thing that led to their removal back in “civilization”: the street layout for a planned community of McMansions.

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