Burtonwood and Holmes

Artist Statement

In 2006 spending by the United States government on the military will account for 48% of all federal outlays, or about $906 billion dollars. Our art is an attempt to represent this huge investment by the state of people, time and money in a way that is meaningful to us and our audience.

The work is generally produced as paintings preferably to scale and at life size. Our installations usually combine site-specific paintings with smaller works on panel and canvas. We use the opportunity of creating sculpture and installation to inform the viewer better about the subject we address.

Our work can be divided in to three parts. On one level we want to simply record and bear witness to the machinery of conflict and violence. Fixing materiel* in paint is akin to framing it in the lens. It’s interesting therefore to place under surveillance that which normally is the surveyor. Our series Ordnance Survey addresses this general theme.

On another level akin to a journalist or researcher we delve into the arms industry to examine who makes what, where they are made, who profits from the sales of weapons and who the losers are. Works from this project are part of an ongoing series titled, In Our Backyard. Using the 2003 SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) list of 100 top arms manufacturers worldwide we selected over twenty British and American arms companies to illustrate the domestic connections between the war effort and local economics.

The final layer of our practice returns to a more general critique of everyday culture. It combines a reflection upon the machines of power with the strategy of the free market, making connections between consumer culture and military might, assessing the differences and similarities of materialism and materiel*. Whenever possible we try to include the viewer in these works, whether literally placing their reflection in the picture frame or engaging them physically via our installation. We employ references to the artworld, using our practice and that of our contemporaries as subject matter in our works. The financing of art is deemed much more dangerous than the arming of dictators and despots, this is a contradiction that must be addressed. Our series Relative Scale and World War deal address these themes.

Matériel* (from the French for equipment or hardware, related to the word material) is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management. In a military context, matériel relates to the specific needs of an army to complete a specific mission. The term is also often used in a general sense ("men and materiel") to describe the needs of a functioning army. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

SIPRI: http://www.sipri.org