Read the Seattle Weekly review by T.S. Flock HERE.

Read the Seattle Times review by Michael Upchurch HERE.

ORANGE DUST, Artifice and the Love of Soft-Living: Troy Gua and BONFIRE unearth the tomb of post-America

Troy Gua fell in love with the wonders of King Tut’s tomb and his lost civilization as a child. The work in Orange Dust is an overt homage to that aesthetic inspiration and to a troubled present-day America, buried beneath the sludge of cultural detritus.

“I am both consumed and repelled by our American contemporary culture. The work in Orange Dust serves as an exhibition of objects and ideas designed to underscore our preventable but gathering fate: a collection of fictional, metaphoric artifacts unearthed from America's impending tomb.

We live in a present day reality where we expect more from our technology and our society than we do from ourselves. We search for happiness in a pill, in one hour delivery, in binge watching, in virtual reality, in memes, in the newest iPhone, in the quickest way to get to the “thing” we think we deserve in order to be who we believe we are…but we no longer are.

Although the theme at the core of this work may seem pessimistic, it is meant as an optimistic overture, a reminder of America’s potential for greatness to underscore the damage inflicted upon ourselves and each other physically, philosophically and otherwise…a wakeup call to rewrite our future.”

Orange Dust opens November 5, 2015 and continues at BONFIRE through January 28, 2016. Receptions each First Thursday of November, December, and January, with newly unearthed acquisitions installed each month.

BONFIRE, a contemporary art gallery located in the historic Panama Hotel at 603 South Main Street in Seattle’s International District, connects people through art, culture and design. The gallery is open 12pm to 5pm, Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment at 206.790.1073. For more details visit www.thisisbonfire.com

All artwork and photos by Troy Gua unless otherwise noted.



 
 

 
photo by Robert Wade

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
The window installations hold obesity-proportioned caskets made from sugar and plastic, and orange flocked plaster Dorito pyramids, to represent both below and above ground burial chambers.

Another American Pastime (Just Do It)
Within the context of this show, the pyramid serves as a surrogate for the USA. This piece is an invitation to self-destruct.

 
It’s an object loaded with violent potential. It mimics the shape of the Washington Monument. And its asking you to take a swing - everybody’s doing it.

'Of Future History and the Love for Soft Living (FREE WIFI)' and 'Liberty in Repose'
 

 
 

Of Future History and the Love for Soft Living (Orange Dust)
This piece gets part of its title from a Teddy Roosevelt quote - he spoke often of the disaster that awaited men afraid to work. This is meant as a postcard from the future - a note to say hi, be safe.

 
 

‘Modern Parlance (Emoji Cartouches)’
These two golden tablets contain all of the available iPhone emoji icons at the time of their creation. It seems devolution is taking place and it’s really fun to participate. Our language is reverting to pictograms.

 
 

 
 

‘Blind Autosarcophagy’
Autosarcophagy is the act of self-cannibalism. The Egyptian god Anubis, in this instance, is the American, who is eating himself to death and he doesn’t even see it.

 
 

 
 

A Nation of Kings
This piece is directly inspired by the burial mask of King Tut, but in this instance, the dead pharaoh is you - gazing upon yourself through layers of the past. It represents a history of vanity and entitlement - two great American virtues.

 
 

 
 

‘The National Nectar’
This bottle is filled with sugar and wrapped in the stripes of the flag, mimicking the Coca-Cola label.

Hook and Flail
‘Hook and Flail’ is a play on the pharaoh’s ‘crook and flail’. The shepherd's crook symbolized the flock of Egypt's people, while the flail was an agricultural tool used to harvest grain.

 
In this case, the fork and spoon are the American equivalent, and this piece speaks to the American food industry’s ability to addict the public to garbage...and watch us flail, in mock wonder and horror.

Pigs Get Fat, Hogs Get Slaughtered
 

 
The chalice of orange dust here is actual Dorito dust, placed as an offering to the snack food gods.

 
 

American Pie
Tragically, gun violence has become as American as apple pie. Too much sadness.

 
 

 
 

The Audacity of Audaciousness
This piece is meant to evoke a smile, but if one thinks about the implications, maybe it’s not so funny.

 
This cat is us, with her head so far up she can’t even see what’s going on in the world around her. Or if she does, she doesn’t appear to - her shades help avoid making eye contact.

 
 

Poised for Blank (Glass Houses)
None of us can tell the future - maybe this glass house, America, is poised to score, to get back on top, to win. Or maybe the kick will shatter it to a thousand pieces. Or maybe we'll score!

American Canopics
These canopic jars contain petroleum, drugs, sugar, and firepower: American viscera.

 
 

 
 

The Queen of Orange Dust
 

The Queen
This Nefertiti is sporting a Marge Simpson hair-do, and she’s our Everywoman, our American Queen of Today. Like so many of us, she’s mesmerized by the TV and the steady stream of infotainment and human atrocity paraded before her in a 24 hour feed.

 
 

 
She can’t. Stop. Watching. And neither can we.

 
She’s watching ‘Just Overdo It’, and it’s a hypnotic strobe of nostalgic childish characters, embodying frivolity and fun, but spliced subliminally with snips of what our country has become.