Present Tense

The Art of Memphis, 2001-Now

Nick Pena
What Lies Beneath (Slow Creep)
oil on canvas, 36x60

Artist Nick Pena

Courtesy of the artist, Nick Pena

Many of Nick Pena's ideas begin with personal nostalgic notions and culminate in more serious, social or political inquiries. What Lies Beneath (Slow Creep) (2011), is a response to his interest in the geological phenomena of soil creep. Soil creep is used as a metaphor for the relentless effects gravity has on debris (i.e. human or natural) causing both earth and debris to settle just a little farther beneath the surface. His interest in the subject derived from childhood memories of burying plastic toy soldiers after enacting mock battles between opposing armies of miniature figurines. Pena describes this work in the following way: "Slowly and inconspicuously, the detritus of our mass consumption seeps into the earth at an unquantifiable rate. In What Lies Beneath, I imagine what a cross section of the earth looks like since the advent of industrialized plastics." Pena teaches fine art and graphic design at Christian Brothers University.

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