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Invented Landscapes | Carlos Diaz

February 2, 2010

Carlos Diaz is an artist born in Pontiac, Michigan in 1951. After his studies in the University of Michigan, School of Art [Ann Arbor], he received a BFA from the Center for Creative Studies, College of Art and Design, and then completed 2 years of study toward engineering degree at Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills. As a result of prior professional experience in mechanical drawing and design, with the period commonly referred to as the American Industrial Revolution,  the invention of illusion and by extension, the impact the carnival, circus and amusement parks had on American culture at the turn of the century that is at the foundation of his work.

Diaz says about his work:

“In my photographic collage work, Invented landscape, I use vintage steel plate and wood block engravings from patent journals published from 1840-1890, during the peak of the American Industrial Revolution. These highly detailed illustrations are of newly invented contraptions which were used primarily in manufacturing, mining, farming and transportation.”

In the Invented Landscape images, the Coney Island environment provides a space to merge both metaphorically and literally, the machines of the industrial revolution and the amusement park landscape. They are a fusion of the functional forms of labor and the fun and fantasy of the carnival, Diaz says. And also he pointed the importance that both are a reflection of the disparity that exists between the finite and the infinite and the thread that connects the surreal to the real.

In his most recent work, human figures inhabit the landscape. They are anonymous and yet represent us all. They have no identity but seem familiar. The figure is intended as a metaphor for all humankind and symbolizes the fragility of our relationship to the earth and the nature of our existence both physically and spiritually.

From the artist statements:

“Both from a purely photographic perspective and on a more conceptual level, the Invented Landscape work rests on the tension between the literal photograph (what is captured by the camera) and the constructed collage (what is invented as illusion), and between what we perceive to be real and the surreal. The fabricated/invented landscapes provide a world where hopes and fears are called into question and where the relationship between technology and mankind can be seen as both compatible and in contrast. At the very least the Invented Landscape images are double-edged swords.”

More info at tha Edelman Gallery web-site.

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