Brian Paumier takes his inspiration from his questioning his identity, heritage and community, viewed through the lens of his enchantment with Mexican-American culture. He grew up in Oxnard, a Southern California suburb where two-thirds of the population is Mexican-American. As an Army Veteran, through melding his childhood memories and his experience as a soldier in Iraq he invites us to question the ritualistic constructs of masculinity and culture within contemporary society.
The Act Of Faith series began in the heat of battle with a promise to the Virgin of Guadalupe. In a moment of desperation, Paumier made a deal with the Virgin of Guadalupe, with his santo: “If you get me out of this, I will make you a manda for all your help. Por favor, Mi Lupita.” As a result the images in Act of Faith are repeated ritualistically, like religious icons, commemorating his childhood idols and pivotal life events. They appear in a multiplicity of forms he calls “cuadros”. These two-dimensional assemblages adorned with stickers, glitter, spray paint, and floral appliqués are mounted to panels and covered in a think layer of resin. Paumier has also embellished these unique installations with beaded skulls and motifs taken from Mexican craft tradition.
The Act Of Faith of work seeks to personalize the political, and celebrate connections, differences and beliefs that are shared and differ between American and Mexican culture. The relevance of this intervention stands out as an act of faith to protect the shared cultural benefits in a diverse America, today.
Brian Paumier was born in Oxnard California. Graduating from Art Centre College of Design Pasadena, California in 2000.work is profoundly autobiographical. He maps his eclectic personal history through portraits and still life. He draws freely from his memories of influential family and friends, Mexican culture and traditions and his experiences as a soldier and life as an artist growing up in Oxnard, California. Balancing extremes and exposing rituals he celebrates the essence of culture in an effort to collapse stereotypes and preconceived ideas. His practice is intercultural and his approach interdisciplinary, filled with deeply personal but universal narratives. His lens based work chronicles one man’s quest for identity, masculinity, and equanimity. He received his MFA from ICP/Bard and his BFA from Art Center College of Design. His work is in various public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The International Center Of Photography, the 21c Museum Hotel, and Beth Rudin DeWoody collection.
Image: Cow and Coyote Skulls. 2018