“Television is not the truth. Television is a goddamned amusement park.” – Howard Beale from the film Network, 1976
If you’re of an age that can remember a time before the constant bombardment of news and celebrity culture, this quote attacking the role of media may hold a palpable significance. In only the last few years with the rise of gossip rags and television shows dedicated to Tinseltown’s elite, high-speed internet updates every few seconds gathering news from the far reaches of the world, and the truly meta-physical: blogs about blogging; a constant stream of information, at the same time relevant and grossly redundant, is suffocating our society under the pillow of subliminal messaging and “organic” advertising.
The work of Ray Sell attempts to simultaneously dissect the messaging and provide commentary on this phenomenon, particularly focusing on its impact on the development of the male archetype. Taking images and magazine clippings from a vast swath of media over the last 60 years, Mr. Sell is determined to create a forum for self-reflection and debate, and question the very ethos by which our culture rears its male brood. By capturing and re-appropriating images of motorcycles and muscle cars, nude women and fierce beasts, cowboys and Indians – Mr. Sell has created a different message with his assemblage of fantastic collage arrangement, vivid colors and these poignant relics from media of days past. By removing the images from their original environs, he has stripped them of their intended meaning and given them his own voice.
Often whimsical and rarely intended to elicit political response, Mr. Sell’s electric, colorful work provides its viewers with an opportunity to really look at what’s being transmitted through imagery and decide how they themselves will respond.
Ray Sell received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York.