January 31, 2015 - April 25, 2015
Making use of dead Apple laptop computers, plastic chairs and PVC pipe, Michael Dinges’ work looks at the impact of industry and globalization on our culture. He has chosen to do his engravings on PVC plastic because it is both ubiquitous in our contemporary environment, and toxic in nature. PVC is also reminiscent in color and texture to ivory. He engraves images of container ships and trade goods, along with American iconic imagery and slogans to re-enforce, subvert, and explore contemporary ideas of what it is like to live and work through the violent change of globalization. He utilizes techniques of the scrimshaw of 19th-century sailors engraving on whale teeth or bones, but uses a Dremel tool to etch his laptops and buckets, and then ink them.
In his “Essential Artifacts” series, Dinges attempts to explore the contrast and the ironies of the artifacts of our daily life. He features those objects that have served us well, and despite more spectacular inventions, will probably always be with us.
“In my art practice – by drawing parallels through the use of scale and materials – I want to ask the viewer to contemplate their own relationship to their social and physical environment. The human species, as we know it, is under tremendous pressure to conform to conditions that exploit our fears and needs. Will we, as a civilization, acquiesce or resist those forces that try to mold us into what they want?
Is it true that the more things change, the more they stay the same? No one can predict the future, however it is clear that without art that questions the trajectory of unrestrained, hyper-ambitious capitalism, and the group-think that accompanies it, we will become more susceptible to its ill effects.”