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LIFE

Artist Sage Vaughn explores the harmonic disparity between man and nature

by Julie Wolfson in Culture on 17 January 2013

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In a new exhibition at LA's Scion AV Installation space, artist Sage Vaughn questions the nature of human existence with contemplative works that juxtapose attractive and repulsive imagery. Appropriately titled, "LIFE" spans a bevy of media and allegorical iconography that showcase Vaughn's interest in creating "a body of work inspired by a word that describes almost anything: it covers so much, it means nothing." From materials like collaged manila envelopes and stained glass to blankets and collectible products, Vaughn's approach is varied but tightly conceptualized, creating a particularly intriguing look at the beauty in life's polarities.

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Vaughn worked with Judson Studio to learn the process of making stained glass for a piece depicting two backlit owls. Birds are a constant presence in Vaughn's work, explaining, "They represent a threshold of what we have around us that is untamed." The stained glass owls offer a luminescent example of beauty, displayed in the same room with images of weapons, tortured erotica and some truly bizarre examples of human behavior.

The tactile artist scours vintage magazines for imagery that catches his eye, which he typically collages onto manila envelopes. He tells us one of his more inspirational finds is a photograph of two people standing outside in a lush field with the woman inexplicably lifting her skirt for the man to take a picture. Placing imagery of animals in the wild, weapons, fast food workers, Ricardo Montalban, skulls and human legs alongside Life Magazine's iconic logo, Vaughn explores how the many facets of civilization truly connect.

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Simply wanting to create something soft for cuddling up and staying warm, Vaughn created a series of four "LIFE" blankets which depict a hang-ten hand, a wolf, a colorful bird and a man in a cowboy hat smoking in front a silhouette of a woman made of pills.

"LIFE" is on view at Scion AV Installation space through 9 February 2013 at 7667 Melrose Ave in Los Angeles. Starting tomorrow you can also catch Vaughn's work at LA's THIS gallery where he will show in collaboration with Bill McRight in the exhibition "Falling Down." For the installation at THIS, the duo will use spiked bats to smash balloons filled with paint in an effort make what Vaughn refers to as "a beautiful, destructive mess."

Images courtesy of the artist

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