Artist Greg Haberny’s haunting mixed media pictures and sculptures are made from an array of materials, including found objects, wood and just plain trash. Fusing them together with glue, he creates images that are simultaneously organized and chaotic, oftentimes appearing to explode from the canvas. Vintage toys, used tins, and other garbage are transformed into powerful pieces that provide commentary on politics, pop culture and social disorder.
A full room installation of Haberny’s mixed media pieces could be found at the Aqua Miami Art Fair this past week, which took place at the Aqua Hotel. The furniture from the room was removed, and Haberny’s pieces were stacked on the walls surrounding an upside down Christmas tree. Garbage, much like the materials he uses in his pieces, was strewn around the room.
Haberny’s best pieces are the ones in which he creates conglomerates of found objects. The best example is “America the Beautiful,” which is a framed mass of trash in the shape of the United States. Toys, arrows, crayons, popsicle sticks, “Made in the USA” labels and money are jammed together and framed in gold — a powerful comment on our economy today.
Haberny also attacks the oil industry, with his ironically glittery “Esso” piece, which drips glitzy sparkles down the canvas. Pop imagery like Mickey Mouse, JFK and other cartoons join found toys in various states of disrepair. Haberny’s fascination with pop culture partially stems from his experience as an actor for TV commercials, which can be seen in clippings of advertisements that are sandwiched in his collages.
In the chaotic installation, the upside-down Christmas tree takes center stage. A mass of old stuffed animals, broken toys and other “gifts,” Haberny’s tree unabashedly draws attention to America’s fascination with the consumer-powered holiday.
Greg Haberny’s chaotic and powerful sculptures and pieces can be found at Brooklyn’s Like the Spice Gallery.
Images © Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat