Rhythm and order emerge in Rob Grad’s I GOT THIS, a new series of photo-based mixed media abstract self portraits. Inspired by his life growing up on the Sunset Strip during the heydey of the music scene in Los Angeles, his parents divorce, and a nagging desire to answer his existential questions, each work reflects a memory of a significant period in Grad’s life. His blend of photography, paint, and wild shapes on stacked plexiglass, presents archetypal characters detached from their environments. While each character is a self portrait, the themes are universal. On the surface, the characters look confident, as if to say “I got this. I’m capable. I can do it.” But when you look more closely, there is something amiss. Their bodies are distorted, and their facial expressions do not match their body language. The characters appear to realize, “I got this,” suggesting a delicate balance of a dual reality–the one being presented consciously, vs. the unconscious self perception inadvertently being revealed. By exploring his past, Grad offers hope for the future, grounded in the fact that viewpoints and perspectives about ourselves, each other, and the world around us evolve over time. Change is uncomfortable, but natural.
You can read Los Angeles Art Critic, Shana Nys Dambrot’s essay about this series, here.