Brit Bunkley’s Social Realism looks to the icons of nationalist Neo-Classical art, as the artist continues his investigations in 3-D modelling and printing. The Classical art genre has been used to serve the agendas of Fascists and Stalinists, colonialists, capitalists, and the military. Bunkley’s subject matter is a reminder that Classicism in art and architecture represents both the best and worst of European culture – domination, hegemony, and power, as well as the positive characteristics of the enlightenment – reason, liberalism, democracy, freedom, equality, and the pursuit of happiness.
Appropriating this ubiquitous imagery Bunkley creates his own spin on Classicism with revisions and alterations that query convention. Bunkley reworks forms in such a way that the intention shifts completely: a bust of Stalin is reproduced with a gaping hole through his head; Classical figures are bent and appear wilted; the roof of a Classical temple is disrupted by a jet plane in flight.
“Whether video, public object or a drawing of a 3D wireframe model, Bunkley’s work is all in essence sculpture: how material and the shapes it might take express our relationship to the world. Natural or synthetic, he is concerned with the construction of things, how a material’s potential might be extended, and how everything is ultimately made from a series of building blocks or pixels.” – Mark Amery, 2013