Working in a collage-like manner with digital printmaking processes, Randy Bolton seamlessly constructs new images assembled from small fragments of illustrations borrowed from vintage children's textbooks. Bolton's series of inkjet prints adopt a sculptural format in which images printed on adhesive-backed film are mounted to thin, rectangular wooden supports that hang perpendicular to the wall. These are literally two-sided pieces; one side plays off the other in this modified diptych format, creating playful, but disquieting visual narratives that undermine the simple, reassuring lessons for children that were originally intended by the illustrations Bolton selects for his source material. Double meanings abound in his work and Bolton depicts an oddly familiar, but slightly sinister world where what was once trusted has become uncertain.
An additional body of work is based on souvenir felt pennants from the 1940's and 50's. In this recent series of screenprints and digital prints, Bolton has borrowed the format of souvenir pennants and used it to express his own observations, concerns, anxieties and complaints about our culture, institutions, environment and politics. They are intended to convey an initial flash of nostalgia, pleasantness and the familiarity and innocence of old images from childhood, that then slowly begins to "sour" or twist into a more somber recognition that something is just not "right" here. Familiar images and old adages reveal double meanings that hint at more disturbing, underlying concerns.
Mr. Bolton's work is in numerous collections including: Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Boston Museum of Fine Arts, MA; Butler Museum of American Art, OH; Dayton Art Institute, OH; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA.