Bruce ConnerAmerican (McPherson, Kansas, 1933 - 2008, San Francisco, California)
Although Conner initially worked with paint and collage, in the late 1950s he began to integrate abandoned and discarded objects in work. Thrift stores and garbage cans offered the artist a cheap source of materials that carried an aura of the past and of individual lives.
In Looking Glass, a dense collage of battered pinups of nude women is juxtaposed with worn women's stockings, lacy undergarments, and once-elegant shoes in a meditation on male desire, vanity, and mass-marketed ideals of femininity and beauty. Presiding over this unsettled and unsettling construction is a disquieting figure made of stuffed nylon pantyhose and mannequin arms with polished nails, topped by a head formed from a dead blowfish. The scratched, torn, and burned surfaces of the photographs add to the distinct sense of repulsion or frustration conveyed by this work.
Conner's use of found materials influenced his fellow Northern California artists and inspired a widespread interest in the sculptural style now known as assemblage.