Responding to Sinthian’s culture of mindfulness and ecological awareness, Cronin developed a process of repurposing aluminum cans that would develop to form the core strategy in creating Flag. Composed of a series of cans, some found, others consumed by the artist himself, the work features them in the form of mini Senegalese flags. Where the flag’s design is featured in Untitled, in Flag it is rather the boldness of Senegal’s national colors and an overarching Pan-African connection that permeates from the repeated rows of flags. The work acts as a statement on the Senegalese culture of renewal, of considered consumption, and reappropriated waste, values that Cronin strongly identifies with and oftentimes feels a disconnect from in American culture. In the context of Cronin’s core body of work, he often celebrates, with a longing melancholy, tropes from classic Americana, while also problematizing the wasteful systems that they uphold. Previous works such as Roger That II, Support US Art Market, and Turkey Trot highlights American symbols of militarism, celebrity, and mass consumption, taking an artistic stance on a sense of American nationalism. In the meditative state of cutting, flattening, and finally painting layers onto the metal, Cronin is able to incorporate waste into his work and integrate recurring themes with new cultural contexts.
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