Banks VioletteInterprets Dark Corners of Subcultures
His art, menacing and curiously stifling for such minimal creations, urges the viewer to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
In a world overflowing with stimuli, the lines between art, fiction, and real world are frequently eliminated - a blurred existence for some in which black metal bands wage war on their environments, teens kill for notoriety, and music inspires violent acts. Banks Violette, the NYC artist pegged as "new gothic" by those eager to peg artists, interprets this existence with stark drawings and sculptures of salt and resin, often presented in combination with music - "the sound equivalent of the sculpture", says Violette. His art, menacing and curiously stifling for such minimal creations, urges the viewer to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, to project their own meaning into his work. Knowledge of Violette's references, though not necessary, certainly adds to the experience. The Untitled installation at his 2005 Whitney solo show, for example, featured a 16x20 foot recreation of a charred church based on the Norwegian black metal church burnings that culminated in the stabbing death of musician Euronymous. With a throbbing accompanying soundtrack by Snorre Ruch, a participant in Euronymous's murder, the empty space created by the church's skeleton is heavy with portent. Violette's work doesn't exactly make for light and cheerful viewing, but it's far from chaotic, communicating the reality of violence calmly, clearly, and without judgment.