Artist’s statement -
John Gregory explores the inner life of a man trapped between his everyday existence and a fantasy which has developed over the years. The fantasy involves a complicated and inextricable tangle of fact and fiction involving an erotic and funereal embrace between heroic archetypes and an attraction to the dark side of sub culture.
The banal and the fantastic merge and overlap in this installation which a variety of media to explore the interface between actual and abstract space. A space linked and dominated by mass media and represented experience where codes of social behavior and gender are refined and disseminated.
The name John Gregory is derived from the artists full name, Marcus Gregory John Williams and the ‘fantasies’; manifested in a music video/dream sequence, take their cue from the artists remembered adolescent imagination. John Gregory’s dreams of rock stardom come to nothing as he slowly succumbs to self imposed domestic mediocrity. The injection of the artist into the art alludes to the complexity of the production of identity as a result of interplay between self and the symbolic narrative of media.
Gregory’s supposed interaction with the notorious drug dealer Tony Benetti brings an element of ‘history’ to the installation and we are reminded of the historic context of the mans life. Yet here too there is complexity. The Falcon in the dream sequence is an ’86 not a ’74 model. It was the mechanic Terry Clark who took the false name Tony Benetti, not Martin Johnstone, nor Alexander Sinclair.
As Gregory eschews such public exposure, the artist acts out the various roles for him; a dream, at home and at work. But who wrote the script, whose truth or fantasy are we seeing here?
While Gregory’s fantasy becomes more and more sophisticated, he is less capable of catching a glimpse of his actual self. His life slips by almost unnoticed even to himself, like an un-smoked cigarette left to burn in the ash tray of life.
This installation is inspired by and dedicated to John Gregory.
→ Journey to suburbia's dark side, The New Zealand Herald, 29-09-2005