PROVO Viewers of the video art created by Australian Grant Stevens may want to take a second look at how they regard mass media.
Stevens' exhibition at the Museum of Art, "Cliche and Collusion: Video Works by Grant Stevens" brings into question the acceptance of popular catch phrases as meaningful forms of communication. The subject of his works are not the works but the viewer, said spokesman Chris Wilson.
"We hope this exhibition causes our visitors to ask critical questions about their relationship with the mass media and popular forms of communication," said Herman DuToit, museum educator.
The 12 videos explore the language and communication of popular culture. In his works, which mainly consist of successive flashes of white text on black screens, Stevens recombines text from advertisements, music, film and common conversation to tempt the viewer to ask questions and offer critiques. Several works incorporate visual film clips or rely on audio monologues.
Stevens' work subverts the viewers' expectation of commonplace expressions.
"Often, the textual, visual or audible message of a Grant Stevens' work seems to follow a pattern of Hollywood construction or a trend in everyday speech," he said. "But just as viewers expect the pattern to mount toward a climax or conclusion, Stevens subverts the anticipated course."
For example, in a text-based work titled "Some Want It All" the snippets of text that flash onto the screen are accompanied by high-energy music typical of a movie preview. The text, appropriated from actual cinematic trailers, seems to tell a story that is building toward a climax. But the work never reaches a resolution, it keeps stringing one trailer line after another until the video loops.Stevens has exhibited his videos in Australia, England, Indonesia, Italy, Serbia and Singapore. This exhibition at the BYU Museum of Art marks the first museum exhibition of Stevens' artwork in the United States.
If you go
What: "Cliche and Collusion: Video Works by Grant Stevens"
Where: Museum of Fine Arts, BYU campus, Provo
When: Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., now through Feb. 9, 2008