By Khanh Nguyen/reporter
Haslett also uses mixed media. He works primarily with acrylic paints, but his sculptures combine papier-mâché, ceramics and assorted materials such as fiberglass, resin and so forth. He’s only interpreted three-dimensional media for five years while he’s been printmaking and painting for 17 years.
Werner created two life-size installations for the SE exhibition.
“RM 2” is made with charcoal and chalk on grocery sacks depicting a moment in Werner’s daily routine. A self-portrait of Werner is rendered onto the wall of the corridor while paper airplanes and crumpled paper are hung from the ceiling and scattered on the floor. His daughter helped him with the airplanes, he said.
“Far Reaching Continental,” using the same technique, is the other life-size work illustrating another seemingly insignificant moment where Werner is standing among his other self-portraits, hanging from the ceiling.
“Exaggerating the mundane makes me appreciate the beauty of these moments that we might take for granted,” he said.
Werner also has a series of compact panels capturing himself as he does backyard maintenance and chores like painting the fence, drilling or ironing.
Werner’s distorted self-image draws influence from Picasso, one of his favorite artists. He said he is also inspired by skateboarding, street and graffiti art, music, friends, family and his day-to-day life.
“Adam and Danny are not just sitting in front of a mirror drawing themselves,” said SE instructional associate and curator Christopher Blay. “They are actually making things that are in their lives.”
Blay also notes Werner and Haslett are both fathers, and, thus, their work is extra special because they’ve incorporated their experiences of fatherhood into it.
Haslett keeps his family close by in his self-portraits.
“Sackopotatoes” is an unconventional family portrait that features his wife, their home and Haslett as a giant supporting their son on his back. But his son is also literally depicted as a sack of potatoes, which is their nickname for him, Haslett said.
In his painting “Red Dog” from 2001, Haslett said he portrayed himself in black and white and disproportionately oversized, compared to the colored room he’s in. A small Clifford, the red dog from the popular children’s books, signifies his son, and a pair of bright blue booties hanging on the wall represents his future daughter.
The painting may mean one thing to the viewer at face value, but to the artist, it’s much deeper, Haslett said.
“Most of my early paintings are just me experimenting with colors and proportions,” he said.
Haslett continues using a colorful palette in his subsequent works combined with the abandon of perspective, which he said he never heeds. Another common theme included in his work is the use of known cartoon characters or caricatures and toys.
“It’s my upbringing — TV and cartoons,” he said. “I believe in any situation, I’ll find something funny, … but you don’t start to see things [trends] until you do enough work.”
Haslett’s sculptures are also showcased in the exhibit.
“Billybobby” is a sculpture based on a character he created for his daughter. Dressed in a tuxedo and donning a top hat, Billybobby is a naïve person whose thoughts appear on his hat because he can’t speak, Haslett said.
SE student Lindsey Stiefel, an art major, said this was her favorite exhibition so far.
“The sculptures just make me smile,” she said. “I like that these are a bit out there.”
Bridget Turner enjoyed the subliminal and mixed messages.
“They seem innocuous, but there’s also some instability behind them,” she said.
Werner’s and Haslett’s works are displayed in Art Corridor II through Dec. 15. For more information, call Blay at 817-515-3406.