The local artist's Family Photos is a series of metallic digital prints that question the absurdity of social norms and play with tropes of childhood and adolescence, and he describes his series called Homelands as "a starscape installation influenced by an undying love for Science Fiction."
Together the two exhibitions constitute Funkhouser's third and final showing in downtown Phoenix's collective gallery, Eye Lounge. Incorporating self-portraits and portraits of a few close friends, Funkhouser expands upon some of the themes he has explored in previous works, but this time, he says he's taking his persistent questioning of social paradigms to the next level.
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Though Family Photos and Homeworlds are comprised primarily of photographs, Funkhouser has an academic background in painting. This training is particularly evident in Family Photos: the positioning of the figures often appears to mimic classical portraiture.
But there's nothing classical about Funkhouser's use of LED lighting to create the saturated colors that really make his pieces jump off the wall. The frames, which Funkhouser hand-painted himself, multiply this effect.
Funkhouser says he hopes Family Photos invokes both "playful fantasy and familiar nostalgia." The artist harkens to the weirdly staged portrait photographs of his youth, and takes this historically stunted form to new ends (see Funkhouser's version of a prom photo aptly titled "Celebrating Another Successful Dating Ritual, Hallelujah").
In fact, what makes Family Photos particularly notable is Funkhouser's ability to poke fun at things without losing the art. The pieces are lighthearted, but not at the expense of their meaning.
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With the small, space-inspired installation, Homeworlds serves as a complement to the main attraction, and Funkhouser shows us a different side of his work less focused on narrative. (Not to mention this is one of the best uses of Eye Lounge's project room we have ever seen).
Funkhouser built the light boxes that showcase his "planets" scattered around the room and interspersed with glow-in-the-dark stars. The installation reminds us of going to the planetarium as a kid, which thematically serves as a nice complement to pieces in the front room.