Projects and Installations > Master of Fine Art Thesis Exhibition

"Tom Pazderka has created a portrait gallery of notable and notorious cabin dwellers. There, authors Henry David Thoreau and Edward Abbey share space with Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Varg Vikernes, a Norwegian musician whose advocacy of neo-pagan ideology has included arson and murder. Drawn in graphite on plywood that has been scorched to a sooty black, these likenesses appear as modulations of sheen, disembodied images isolated against an unlit ground.

The portraits are part of a body of works whose focal point is the cabin, and whose orientation is to the past. Black-and-white renderings of mountains and ocean recall the nineteenth-century Romantics’ fixation on the sublime. A cabin-like structure built from salvaged wood evokes return—to origins, to essentials, and to one’s self. Even the technology is retro: an overhead projector casts Steve Jobs’ headshot onto Kaczynski’s mug. If the unedited roster of cabin-bound activists makes for a troubled consideration of solitude, this latter merging of features is even more uncanny. With the formulation of a strange new face, Jobs’ legacy enters the conceptual framework of the cabin, to be considered in light of individualism, authenticity, and nostalgia. What to make of a line of devices that refers so emphatically to the self—iPhone, iMac, iBook, iPad?"

- Holly Gore, PhD Graduate in Art History, UC Santa Barbara