Sometimes I Pretend I'm A Cowboy - Steven Grainger
AiRborne Residency: June – August 2014
Steven Grainger's work draws upon cast-off and neglected objects; once functional items such as an umbrella, oil drum or a filing cabinet become skewed through Grainger's lens. These utilitarian objects evoke the pragmatism of industry and production, yet exude a sense of emotional vulnerability. Grainger spent 3 months working in the artists' studio at the ART PARK, researching and developing his ideas for Sometimes I Pretend I'm A Cowboy.
Grainger cites the text Enquiry into the Wealth of Nations by the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher Adam Smith. Economics were a strong influence on the development of his work for exhibition. Through his work he argues that the bastardisation of this text in the 1980's fed - and continues to feed - the warped logic of the Neoliberal agenda. Grainger's symbolic notion of a cactus infers the idea of a literal, metaphorical and economic desert in which both moisture and wealth are soaked up and stored out of reach.
In his first solo exhibition, Grainger introduces his cowboy alter-ego which he created in order to 'act as a buffer between me and everything else'. Sculptural versions of a cactus and water tower suggest a created landscape within the gallery; a physically manifest space for the character of the Cowboy to inhabit
If Grainger's works resonate, it is because they encompass a wide range of influences: the formal language of sculpture; the mythology of the American West; queer culture and economic processes inform a visual language that is entirely Grainger's own.