Blogging Blaffer

Meet the MFAs: Pahl Samson

As Blaffer prepares to open the University of Houston School of Art 38th Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition on April 8 (reception 7-9 p.m.; member/VIP preview 6 p.m.), we’re highlighting artworks by each of the dozen graduating and exhibiting artists along with his or her catalog statement. Next up is Pahl Samson:

Pahl Samson, Waterfall, 2015. Wood, fabric, 84 x 27 x 24 inches
Pahl Samson, Waterfall, 2015. Wood, fabric, 84 x 27 x 24 inches

Pahl Samson uses the visual languages set up by natural and pedestrian experiences from current culture in counterfactual ways, pushing the aesthetics adapted to a superficial sterilization and removal of self to the point of a breaking from reality and a new feaux informed dreamlike empty narration is created. Drawing from his backgrounds in architecture and design, he utilizes furniture building and manipulation of wood and steel, in ways that are internalized to counteract other forms of assemblage, in order to create an atmosphere of lies and almost truths with a restrained, often static application, of authority and authenticity of the new narratives. Imploring his own personal interpretation of common languages, Pahl sets the stage for information to be misinterpreted in his pieces.

His pieces emerge through the use of found visual languages and their values that have been socially attached to the objects. Along with the original objects social value, their original behaviors and surround intertwine with the newly rendered pieces to invoke and question their novel being. Their kenetisism is only in their consumption. Viewers perceive the ways to interact with the forms in ways that they understand the world to behave in a normal setting. The end result often questions assumptions about our preconceived associations between the art piece’s reference points. Each one is an insidiously common looking object. Many have easy access points for the viewer to begin their reading. Not creating an oppositional conversation between the source materials allows them to exist both as real life stand-ins of the real references and also as whimsical half truths. With the visual languages open to non-linear movement, piecing together equally non-linear narratives helps layer the new existence of the sculptures. These pieces try to step outside of the post-modern cynicism and re-apply it as an aesthetic choice. This language of “what art looks like”, just like “how to use furniture” and “maps are to find things,” threads themselves in and out of many assumptions that the pieces critique. This is done through the use of the joke motif to question the value past the “isn’t that funny” value. The bait and switch is multilayered in that it can’t ever truly be gotten. The pieces twist meaning when they get pinned down. In this their personal value remains elusive and confusing.

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Phone: 713-743-9521
Mailing Address: Blaffer Art Museum
University of Houston
120 Fine Arts Building Houston, TX 77204