“Steve Banks: Pop Culture Palimpsest" at the Figge Art Museum -- June 9 through September 2.

Saturday, June 9, through Sunday, September 2

Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second Street, Davenport IA

Familiar characters, objects, and themes will blend in a completely out-of-this-world way when the Figge Art Museum, from June 9 through September 2, houses the exhibition Steve Banks: Pop Culture Palimpsest, a comprehensive installation by the Quad Cities artist. As is stated on the Figge Web site: “Like an archaeologist digging through layers of pop-culture ash, Banks uncovers iconic examples of high and low art which he then rearranges and re-covers in complex and entertaining constructions.”

In a visual mash-up of the familiar icons of art history and the TV shows, comic books, and movies of his youth, Banks’ constructions acknowledge mass media’s influence on our tastes. Through his use of color and a distinct iconographic style, Banks creates a palimpsest of personal memories revealing through its layers a wry social commentary. The exhibition’s title Pop Culture Palimpsest refers to Medieval manuscripts in which one text or image is effaced and replaced by a new one, leaving a trace of the original and a record of layered information. Incorporating overlapping layers of painted, collaged, and carved elements, Banks’ constructions are the artist’s attempt to assert his identity against mass media’s barrage on our senses.

As Banks explains in his Artist Statement: “My artwork is about finding meaningful identity and individuality within popular culture. I strive to make energetic images that explore our relationships and interactions with what is precious, beautiful, necessary, serious, sensual, and nonsensical through juxtapositions of disparate materials, clashing iconography, pungent color schemes, contrasting textures, scale, and simplicity versus clutter.

“My image-making process is fueled by curiosity regarding the process of partial cultural assimilation. These studio works are rooted in the quest for the individual within an apathetic culture of homogeneity and pre-packaged identity. This search for individuality often turns into commentaries about how we miraculously form meaningful interpersonal connections and relationships while our souls seem to bob haplessly on an isolating sea of cultural white noise.”

An artist talk for Steve Banks: Pop Culture Palimpsest will take place on July 12 at 6:30 p.m., and regular museum hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays) and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information on this and other Figge exhibits, programs, and events, call (563)326-7804 or visit FiggeArtMuseum.org.

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