|Our daily lives are filled with consumption--$1.50 for a cup of coffee, $5.95 for a magazine, $17.99 for headphones, $1.79 for cough drops, $36.00 for a haircut. Whether bought out of necessity or indulgence, purchased alone or in a group, everything we buy has its own story to tell. We buy art supplies while feeling inspired, CDs while shopping with friends, and a new pair of jeans to give us a lift when we are feeling blue. Yet, these powerfully emotional experiences can be fleeting--quickly erased by the pull of the next "must-have" acquisition. In Obsessive Consumption, Portland-based artist Kate Bingaman-Burt holds up a mirror to her own obsession with shopping and acquisition. Faced with a mounting pile of postgraduation credit card debt, Bingaman-Burt concocted a unique artistic response to this all-too-common dilemma. She picked up a pen and began drawing her monthly credit card statements, painstakingly recreating every last ledger line and decimal point, vowing to
||continue serving her artistic penance until her debt was repaid. As a relief from this project--turning the idea of "retail therapy" on its ear--Bingaman-Burt began drawing one of her purchases from each day, losing herself in the items, patterns, simple lines, and typography.
Obsessive Consumption represents a selection of three years of Bingaman-Burt's delightful ink drawings of sundry items. Accompanied by witty and insightful annotations, these drawings mock her own relationship with her purchases and put a personal face on the mass-produced items of our shared experience. Readers can catch a glimpse into the life of the artist from the collection, which includes wedding bands, a dog, a moving truck, handmade items from friends, Mississippi beer, Portland pizza, and lots of pens and drawing paper to support her drawing habit. A celebration of the beauty of the everyday, Obsessive Consumption presents a microcosm of consumer culture that will appeal to everyone from a thirteen-year-old mall-dweller to a middle-aged anticonsumerism advocate.