Justin Richel
Fungus Among Us
2008
Gouache on paper
8.5 in x 10.5
*Private Collection



Ostentatious men with wigs that nearly topple, billow and swirl, like plumage these wigs are meant to impress, and perhaps even threaten, evidence of wealth and power, symbols of status and examples of conspicuous consumption. These men are mocked by their own behavior, continually usurping the previous sovereign of style in order to preserve one’s self-complacency. Their mounds of hair piled high like towers reaching for the heavens render them useless, a virtuous disability that requires of them abstention from laborious labor. The beautiful becomes the grotesque; style surmounting function.

These men sit rigid and firm in their positions of power and deeply entrenched in their glory, so much so that they essentially become “monuments” of their own making. As a result birds move into their hair and natural events such as fire take their toll, all the while the big wigs struggle to save face and maintain their proud and victorious posture, ignoring their surroundings and the ensuing predicaments.
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