Aram Nagle Battle Play Set

January 23, 2009 – February 28, 2009

Artist Statement

“In the past year, my work has become increasingly about war, particularly ourc urrent wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan . Due to the nature of this war—the distanced media coverage, our government’s convoluted and conflicting statements concerning the conduct and progress of the war itself—soldiers who return from tours of duty have frequently noted what an inaccurate and distorted picture most Americans have of what participating in such a war is like. As a result,I have come to view it with a peculiar sense of unreality.In general, the domain of the unreal belongs to toys and games; they partake of reality (i.e. a toy gun looks like a real gun) without inhabiting it fully (toy guns may squirt water or say “Bang” but don’t shoot actual bullets). When we play games, we usually construct imaginary or arbitrary situations in which we might overcome obstacles and emerge victorious or fall victim to chance or other players, but either way, it’s traditionally only pretend. The darker side of such play, however, has two facets: one consists of that uncanny feeling that arises when we imagine that toys and games somehow become real (a toy gun kills someone), and the second—which concerns me most—occurs when extremely serious events and the people in them begin to seem somewhat less than actual.War is the deadliest and most utterly real of situations for the people caught up init, yet it is full of gaming metaphors: war games, strategy, tactics, and even units(of soldiers). In war rooms, generals and admirals have computer simulations or even toy-like miniature pieces that stand in for battleships or battalions of soldiers that are moved in order to simulate battles and play out a combat scenario. This reducing of the extreme reality of war to the aloof and removed realm of play seems to me enormously dangerous; we become more cavalier about the costs of war in the lives of the people who are actually in the fighting.With Battle Play Set, I see the big toy soldiers as both participating in a game and referring to the greater context of war. Although we can play with them, moving them back and forth across their tape battlefield, they are at the same time stand-ins for and reminders of the real things, the actual soldiers who truly fight.”

Artist Bio

Aram Nagle was born in Truth of Consequences, New Mexico. After earning hisMFA in 2006 in sculpture he traveled the western hemisphere and eventually settled back in Texas. He now teaches art and art history at Houston Community College.In the last few years he has shown through out Texas and the southwest with shows in San Antonio, Houston and Los Angeles. He continues make art from his personal history and experiences.He proudly resides and works in Houston, TX.