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Meshing historical narratives with his own, Kaphar’s work condenses the activity of decades into single objects. His paintings/sculptures are constructions built from artifacts of art history. Kaphar creates these paintings that he then manipulates using modern and contemporary modes of analysis, deconstruction, and reconstruction, to question the original contexts of the figures and re-present history. By white washing, collaging, crumpling, ripping, cutting, and sewing, Kaphar reconstructs objects from the canon of art history. In some works, paintings are stacked, one on the top of the other. In others, intentionally hidden truths are uncovered by cutting out figures in the canvas and revealing the bare frame beneath.
Art is treated as artifact’something made by man with historical significance. Crumpled, framed paintings appear to have been found in forgotten ruins. A crate-enclosed portrait is visible only through slotted spaces. The paintings speak to concealed family secrets, while the crate symbolizes the maintenance of these histories as well as the conservation of artifacts. The distortion of truth over time is inevitable, and one can only piece together information to unearth it.
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