the 25 project

The 25 Project: Cory Obendorfer

In our second interview with on of the amazing artists from the 25th Anniversary celebration for DCAC, the 25 Project. The 9th artist in this exhibition is local artist Cory Obendorfer, the resident artist on making like larger and more colorful.

Obendorfer has been in DC since 2008 when he started his MFA at American University. Lately, he has been seen at (e)merge, Katzen, Mclean Project for the Arts, and Artomatic. He has been known for his larger than life works that bring ordinary, often bizarre images to life. Lately his subject matter has included skaters, popsicles and candy. We caught up with him to do a Q&A about the 25 Project.    

Why the 25 Project? What inspired you to be a part of it?

I've always admired the organizing partners who put together The 25 Project - No Kings Collective and DCAC. I think both have a terrific presence in DC and provide great opportunities for artists. I haven't exhibited with either in an official capacity, so I eagerly jumped on board when I was invited.
What can we expect to see of your work with the Project?
Popsicles. I have been obsessed with painting popsicles recently, larger than life.
What intrigues you about popsicles and skaters?
Both fascinate me, but they contradict each other.
The skaters in my Rollergirl series are icons of contemporary feminism. They are strong, tenacious, feminine, aggressive, dedicated, sexy, playful, athletic. All the qualities I admire.
The popsicles are icons for youth and innocence. They are both general and specific in the way they reach people. Most people share the same response upon seeing the popsicles, but each viewer's tie to the work is very personal. I have heard so many stories of when and where people would get certain popsicles, including their favorite flavors and who they were with at the time. I have seen total strangers stand in front of a popsicle painting and start sharing memories of their childhood. I love that!
The waffle video? Did you lie or not lie?
I lied about the fact that my obsession with the waffle video was a secret. It's totally not a secret.
But I find the video itself hilarious and brilliant!
Here's why it works:
The title of the video gives away the punchline, the waffle will fall over. Which means there will be tension and anticipation as we await the fall.
The waffle itself is a stoic creature. Its grid structure is solid, strong, stable and predictable (and is echoed in the background). Our waffle hero is infallible, and yet we are foretold of its ultimate demise.
The close-up composition creates a monumental perspective. We ignore the fact that it is probably only five inches tall and sitting on a stove. It can easily be perceived as being of a human scale or much larger. This makes the fall more powerful.
When the fall happens, we cannot prevent the action. The waffle does not falter, it simply succumbs to the inevitable burden of gravity and its own weakness as an organic construction.
The waffle does not noticeably bounce or move upon impact. This reinforces the previous conceptions of its monolithic nature.
The waffle commits. It accepts its fate during the tipping, the fall, and the landing. It does not fight its fate.
We feel compassion for the waffle. Our hero has fallen, literally. It is just as difficult for us to accept the waffle's demise as it was for the waffle.
It is a waffle. A breakfast pastry has created the most captivating six seconds of cinema I have ever seen.

For more information on the 25 Project, visit their website here.  And for more information on Cory Obendorfer, visit her website here.

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