Apocalypse Simulacra

'Apocalypse Simulacra' by Robert Hightower
Opening Reception - Saturday, January 18, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
January 18 - January 29
Artist Talk - Saturday, January 25, 10:30 a.m. Reception, 11:00 p.m. Presentation


A special immersive gallery installation, “Apocalypse Simulacra” is a narrative presentation of the twilight of humanity, at the fulcrum of extinction by Atlanta-based artist Robert Hightower. Through stage-set constructions, readymade plastic models and paintings, Hightower investigates the duality of right/wrong, good/bad, eternal/ephemeral in light of the imminent end of the Human Epoch. It depicts the ideological origins of corporate greed and power, the reality of wealth distribution in the “American Dream,” and the socio-economic and environmental impacts of that collective greed. After receiving a BFA in sculpture from the University of Georgia, Hightower moved to New York City and participated in The Bronx Museum of the Art’s AIM Fellowship (Artist In the Marketplace). While in New York, his interests expanded to include art installation and the creation of spaces, and has since designed and built many unique homes, penthouses and restaurants throughout the United States. Hightower has returned home to Atlanta and will be presenting his most comprehensive body of work to date, “Apocalypse Simulacra,” a unique universe of beauty, dichotomy and uncertainty.

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ARTIST STATEMENT

The 'Apocalypse Simulacra' is a presentation of the twilight of humanity, at the fulcrum of extinction.

The climate is the subject.  The Simulacra is the Theme. First discussed by Plato, the Simulacra is the search for Truth in Duality. Developing into Post-Modernism with Nietzsche’s: truth=Truth. Now with French social theorist Jean Baudrillard, the Simulacra has evolved beyond Post-Modernism, into the wholesale confusion of the real/fake, the true/false… between reality and hyper-reality.  This crumbling, confusing of the truth (not necessarily the Truth) is our Reality.

For over two decades, I have created large format paintings of strip malls, suburban houses and toys. These paintings present singular images flattened-out (almost floating) on color-fields. They create a certain duality - a loving portrait of an inanimate object that would not normally be singled-out for affection. With my latest work, I have added a variety of iconic images: an airplane, a whisky bottle, a woman floating in a pool. The icons are presented in a pixelated or degenerated state. In addition to paintings, I have used adult-size building blocks to create sculptures or three-dimensional paintings. Using a child's toy at an adult-scale gives the building blocks an austere and powerful presence. The building blocks echo the blocks of the pixelated paintings. I have also begun incorporating stage-set or prop-like sculptures. My goal is to present a "30,000 foot" macro view of the world as we enter the 'Apocalypse Simulacra.'

At first, the 'Apocalypse Simulacra' is a literal reading of the Book of Revelations, but upon closer investigation an inherent duality comes into focus … food made from lead, a boat made of paper, a shrine in the slums, a funeral pyre in an urban setting, a corporate high rise made of children's building blocks. Duality is a central theme in my work: right/wrong, reality/fantasy, eternal/ephemeral. Questioning these dual meanings in the context of an impending apocalypse points to a more metaphorical perspective, an Internal Revelation - the process of Individual Enlightenment. 

Perhaps both are true … the individual journey of the soul to enlightenment, and the collective wholesale destruction of our world.  Perhaps here is where Plato’s “World of Ideals” and Nietzsche’s “Post-Modern” worlds merge, and yield to Baudrillard’s Simulacra of the “Hyper Real”… an even more confused world where one cannot discern between the real and the virtual … how can you have a democracy when you can’t believe anything you see or read?

Using sculpture, I have created a macro portrait of our capitalist world as it leads us to the imminent destruction of our physical world.  My portrait depicts the ideological origin of corporate greed and power, the reality of wealth distribution in the "American Dream" and the socio-economic and environmental impacts of our collective greed.

The paintings of the 'Apocalypse Simulacra' present a micro perspective of our reality, our own individual degenerations and transgressions in both the physical and spiritual world.  When does rest become sloth, and turn to apathy? When does the desire for human contact turn to lust, and subjugate others? 

How grossly has our greed sold-out our future, in lieu of profit today? The work is a snapshot of where we are…a macro and micro view from above and within. The 'Apocalypse Simulacra' is a view of the turning point of humanity’s survival. In midst of global mass extinctions, exponential human population growth, gross excesses of the planet’s resources, and massive global pollution, most are still debating how to drive the bus, while the bus is racing toward the cliff. It may already be too late to turn the wheel or even apply the brakes.

 

Beach Time by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Beach Time

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Omega III by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Omega III

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

42 x 42 in (106.68 x 106.68 cm)

$6,500

Roxy, I Love You by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Roxy, I Love You, 2019

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Tree of Life by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Tree of Life

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Kali Ma by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Kali Ma, 2019

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Selfie Walking by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Selfie Walking, 2019

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Cannibal of the Seas by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Cannibal of the Seas, 2019

ply-wood, linen thread, oil paint & ink encaustic

8 x 12 x 6 in (20.32 x 30.48 x 15.24 cm)

$1,800

Slums by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Slums, 2019

old-growth Cedar, wool felt, mild steel & oil paint

6 x 36 x 36 in (15.24 x 91.44 x 91.44 cm)

$2,800

Oil Rig by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Oil Rig, 2019

ply-wood, old-growth Cedar & oil paint

12 x 12 x 12 in (30.48 x 30.48 x 30.48 cm)

$2,000

Corporate Tower by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Corporate Tower, 2019

old-growth Cedar, ply-wood, cotton felt & oil paint

36 x 14 x 14 in (91.44 x 35.56 x 35.56 cm)

$3,800

Candy Car by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Candy Car

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Omega II by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Omega II, 2019

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

42 x 42 in (106.68 x 106.68 cm)

$6,500

The Pump by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

The Pump

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Blue Collar Bev by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Blue Collar Bev, 2019

Oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

18 x 18 in (45.72 x 45.72 cm)

$2,500

LOL by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

LOL, 2019

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Kum Ba Ya by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Kum Ba Ya, 2019

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

42 x 42 in (106.68 x 106.68 cm)

$6,500

Forestry (Cell) Tower by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Forestry (Cell) Tower, 2019

ply-wood, old growth cedar, brass, balsa wood & oil paint

24 x 12 x 12 in (60.96 x 30.48 x 30.48 cm)

$1,800

The Wreck of Friendship by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

The Wreck of Friendship, 2019

vintage garden stake, a dead tree, ply-wood, brass & oil paint

12 x 60 x 12 in (30.48 x 152.40 x 30.48 cm)

$4,200

Rail, Telegraph & Claims Outpost by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Rail, Telegraph & Claims Outpost, 2019

Lincoln Logs, lead, gold & vintage low-voltage wire

18 x 7 x 7 in (45.72 x 17.78 x 17.78 cm)

$2,400

Captain Industry by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Captain Industry

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Sports Memorabilia by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Sports Memorabilia

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

18 x 18 in (45.72 x 45.72 cm)

$2,500

Toy Collector by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Toy Collector

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Liquor is Quicker by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Liquor is Quicker, 2019

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Sex Traffic by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Sex Traffic, 2019

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Sky Club by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Sky Club, 2019

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Gated Community by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Gated Community, 2019

old-growth cedar, ply-wood, cotton & wool felt, re-cycled leather, linen thread & oil paint

36 x 60 x 36 in (91.44 x 152.40 x 91.44 cm)

$9,800

Map of Posterity by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Map of Posterity, 2019

ply-wood, canvas & oil piant

18 x 36 x 5 in (45.72 x 91.44 x 12.70 cm)

$3,600

Tidal Wave by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Tidal Wave, 2019

ply-wood, velcro, linen thread & oil paint

60 x 60 x 12 in (152.40 x 152.40 x 30.48 cm)

$4,800

Omega I by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Omega I, 2019

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

42 x 42 in (106.68 x 106.68 cm)

$6,500

The Deal by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

The Deal

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

McFood by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

McFood, 2019

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Serenity Now by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Serenity Now, 2019

42 x 42 in (106.68 x 106.68 cm)

$6,500

Comfort Foods by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Comfort Foods, 2019

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Sahdguru by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Sahdguru, 2019

oil paint & ink encaustic on canvas

24 x 24 in (60.96 x 60.96 cm)

$3,500

Funeral Pyre by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Funeral Pyre, 2019

vintage garden stake, twigs, ply-wood, cotton felt & oil paint

12 x 14 x 10 in (30.48 x 35.56 x 25.40 cm)

$3,800

Corporate Food Farms by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Corporate Food Farms, 2020

lead, ply-wood, wool felt & oil paint

4 x 36 x 12 in (10.16 x 91.44 x 30.48 cm)

$650 each

Wild Fire by Robert Hightower

Robert Hightower

Wild Fire, 2019

ply-wood, Pine, cotton felt & oil paint

48 x 60 x 36 in (121.92 x 152.40 x 91.44 cm)

$4,800

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