Bowen, Robert

Robert Bowen, New York NY, USA

Post Cards, Real Pictures of the American Dream, Featuring Sex, Murder, Architecture, Anxiety, Mayhem, Big Mistakes and the Weather

As its title and subtitle suggests, Post Cards, Real Pictures of the American Dream, Featuring Sex, Murder, Architecture, Anxiety, Mayhem, Big Mistakes and the Weather is a project immersed in irony with a distinct critical edge. This work mines the subliminal landscapes of the American dream: tacky hotel rooms, cruise ships, beach scenes, and national parks. The base content is appropriated from the vernacular iconography of old postcards, scrambling the fictional codes contained within them to reveal a perspective on our present state of affairs that is unrelentingly contemporary. This point of view is insinuated deeply into the historical fabric of America, exploiting the past to explain aspects of the present. Twisting the language of B-movies into a dream logic, this work explores the American Gothic imagination.

These images satirically reveal details of the American psychological landscape.  Readers encounter uncanny tales of murder, sex, mayhem, architecture, mass destruction, and various meteorological events set in the American landscape. Here the bizarre occurs naturally:  a roadside sign of a diving woman appears, isolated by car headlights in the desert at dusk; a  cruise ship appears up-ended in the desert; there’s an underwater view out the window of a submerged automobile; an interior view of the cave of a psycho-killer looks down on a Midwestern town, and two 200–foot–tall women flirting with a retro-looking aircraft hover over an interstate highway exchange. Taken together, these fantastical images reveal a story – and offer a documentary of the American dream.

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