Week 5- Artist Conversation- Justin Rightsell

Exhibition Information

Artist: Justin Rightsell
Exhibition: An Evocation, A Relic, and Altar, and An Oblisk
Media: Metal, Wood, Mixed-Media, Installation
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
Website: none

About the Artist

Justin is a photography graduate student in his second year. He earned his undergraduate degree in photography here at CSULB as well. He explored very dark work that brings to light his subconscious.

Formal Analysis

The show was an array of different mediums used to convey his message, and seemed to care more about theme than means of reaching it. He created an installation piece with multimedia aspects. Justin plays on the value contrasts of the room. The room was dark, and there were lights to highlight important aspects of the room. He uses light the highlight, or low-light, particular aspects depending on how much he wants us to see. One piece was wood nailed together with different images and paint. There were two rectangular shapes on the wall that has scratches, similar to writing, on them.This was lit by string lights. There was a black organic shape on the floor that had an audio speaker underneath. The speaker was playing a track of him speaking, and discussing his feelings, beliefs, and disbeliefs.

Content Analysis

He uses his art to translate his real life experiences and beliefs. Justin believes that  night terrors and sleep paralysis correlate very closely to abduction of spirits. He described himself as “being on the fringe” and commented that he is very distrustful of the government. His art is a combination of these thoughts. His work is reminiscent of a diary, or some other place where he could confide all of his deep secrets and mysteries to.

Synthesis / My Experience

My relationship to Justin’s work was confusing to me. On one hand, I did not connect with many of his ideas and themes. I am not passionate about many of the themes he pursued. On the other hand, I was very taken back by his drive to create these types of work. Making this kind of art is very important to him. It is also evident that he spent significant time on the ideological aspect of this piece. As someone who does occasionally have sleep paralysis, I found it interesting that he compared it to abduction of the soul. Whether or not I agree, I was intrigued. Perhaps I was more intrigued by Justin’s thought process than his actual art, which could be his goal, if I read him correctly.

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