R. Eric McMaster
"My work concerns the loss of the genuine, though the genuine has proven hard to define. I am interested in that moment when people curb their authentic responses or feelings as a result of societal pressures. I am fascinated by that instant when we ignore our personal beliefs and nod our heads 'yes'.
"I started exploring this subject through products. I was captivated by the way that we can be attracted to violent, offensive, and generalized toys, video games, or imagery in such an innocent manner. What happens when we allow ourselves to be manipulated like a toy? What is lost when a living being is reduced, through means of mass production, to a plastic object?
"This line of thinking brought me to digital sculpting, where I was interested in bringing character to digital beings through portraiture and gesture. I also explored the idea of displaying a digital fašade in the physical space that a 'real' object would inhabit.
"My work aims to draw attention to everyday objects or influences that alleviate a spiritual or philosophical void. When we get lost in iconography, stereotypes, material possessions, and the status quo, we lose something. Is that something able to be salvaged, or have we been without it so long that we have completely lost touch?
"Competitive sports are the current vehicle through which I am exploring these questions. Sports rely on a very pure act of action and reaction. What is interesting is seeing how this pure act is influenced by the rules of a specific game. For example, if a ball were coming towards your torso, the immediate reaction is to catch the ball with your hands. But because of the rules, a soccer player would not raise their hands for fear of a handball offense. Their initial reaction has been restrained to the point that it is no longer their initial reaction paralleling societal structures, rules, and expectations.
"I am also interested in the structure of control in sports. You have a willing participant (player), a rule enforcer (referee), and the observer (fan) who is either informed of the rules or not; all of which become part of the spectacle. These three feed off of one another, bonded by materialism, entertainment, and ideology while being obedient to specific hierarchies.
"My ideas are currently taking shape through photographs, videos, installations, performances, and sculptures. I owe no allegiance to any one material; I instead focus on one troubling theme. Loss."
R. Eric McMaster (b. 1979) has exhibited his work at FAB Gallery, Richmond, VA; University of Nebraska at Omaha, NE; Reference Gallery, Richmond, VA; Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM; PULSE New York Contemporary Art Fair, Pier 40, New York, NY; Eye Lounge Contemporary Art Space, Phoenix, AZ; Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque, NM; and Hotcakes Gallery, Milwaukee, WI, among others.