I am most interested in investigating the socioeconomics, social norms and mores of rural American society and how our institutions, specifically capitalism and Christianity, influence and ultimately misinform how we interpret the current iteration of truth we are asked to accept. This contradictory relationship provides me with a fascinating point of departure to explore the concept of “Making America Great Again.” For the past three and a half years, like so many others, I have been asking myself, “Who Are We Making America Great Again For?” The answer to this question is inevitably repugnant and is ultimately a product of the previously mentioned manmade creations that actively promote inequality and unmitigated violence.
To comment on and critique this situation, I choose to primarily utilize collage in my studio practice. I feel that the disconnected absorption of visuals inherent to the medium is similar to the way that we receive and process information today. By combining antiquated imagery, ambiguous text, and contemporary materials, I am able to visually articulate a critique of the nostalgia that dominates our current environment, which can best be described as a collective suspension of disbelief.
James Louks was born in Wyoming and grew up in South Dakota. He earned his MFA from the University of Montana in 2014. His work explores the socioeconomics and social norms of American society, with a particular interest in the subjects of addiction, climate change, displacement, exploitation, hyper-capitalism, organized religion, poverty, toxic masculinity, and the threat of interminable plutocracy in this country.
His studio practice is multi-disciplinary and his work has been exhibited nationally. Louks currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he is an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Chatham University.