Vignette of The Homeland Turf
In Vasher's installation for Axle Contemporary, white AstroTurf sprouts industrial pumps amidst a human-sized vial containing viscous amber motor oils and petroleum jellies to illustrate the true nature of many of the products that we are so viscerally engaged in.
Influenced by political, social, and ecological issues, Jennifer Vasher looks at the cheer, desperation, and manipulation with which we as a consumer culture are engaged. Striving to present ideas in a comparative not declarative manner, the artist explores such topics as the pharmaceutical industry and drug addiction, the American ‘Cult-ure of Cleanliness” and the petroleum industry, and domestic health and beauty consumerism.
Vasher finds contemporary America living in a (market driven) drug loving, petroleum drenched society, practicing rituals stemming from a cult of cleanliness. Petro lotion elixirs are massaged into our bodies, the overuse of “health” products such as hand sanitizers weakens our ability to fight off germs, and we continue to buy poisonous household cleaners irresponsibly because marketers tell us to. We are lubricating ourselves and our homes with enough petro products to ignite us.
A generation ago, Shell corporate campaign slogans extoled “Quickens the Pulse of Civilization” and ‘Made Possible or Made Better with Petroleum!” promising consumers a superior quality of life. “Better Things for Better Living…Through Chemistry” and “The Miracles of Science” have been the catchphrases of DuPont since 1935. These taglines reinforced the public’s unquestioning faith that the scientific community safely protects purchasing choices. In her work, Vasher is questioning our consumer choices and the interplay between desire, fear, and addiction.
In the words of the artist: "It is astonishing that the beauty of our intentions is so often poorly juxtaposed with how we achieve their ends. The positive intentions of our desire for health and beauty seem to come at our own odd expense, and that of the world. The curious irony of this situation represents a relationship that we find individually as either fair and balanced, unpalatable and unsustainable, or simply as a curious fact of nature and economics."