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Merwin Belin
American Folklore
1997
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JIMBO DRY LAKE
FOCUS ANGLE

by Peter Plagens



Merwin Belin is deadly serious about not being deadly serious about being deadly serious. His work, which ranges from straight collage to something approaching assemblage (and way back when, Belin worked in neon as well), has a common thread of obliqueness. Whether Belin is enraged at the malfeasances of rightwing politicians, making a comment about the idiocies of the music industry, or simply riffing on a word/image coincidence, he comes at his subject from any number of tricky angles. Sometimes the trickiest angle he can come up with seems to be straight on -- but it’s never absolutely straight on. That would be deadly serious with no saving graces, and that’s the last quality he wants, or gets, in his work.

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