I first saw René Cigler's work ("Child with Head Wound") in Bone Saw, Bergin/O'Barr's innovative "cyber-horror" collection. I was immediately hooked. Her sculptural objects work off of a common punk/industrial aesthetic tension, pitting soft and squishy things against the harsh and dangerous (you know how this works: "Sex" with "Pistols," "Chainsaw" with "Kittens," etc). Here, the inappropriate playmates are Archie McPhee-type tiny baby dolls, farm animals, and other cute gumball trinkets trapped in a spider web world of wires, gears, spikes, bolts, and other not-so-cute industrial age trinkets.
Cigler does a great job of creating a strong field, a believable fiction, around her work. Even though this type of industrial/post-apocalyptic/Road Warrior art has been done to death, René's work still seems fresh and interesting. One saving grace is that her sculptures have a sense of humor - they don't seem to take themselves too seriously.
René also does fashion and jewelry design using the same odd mix of materials. Although she calls her work "Cyberwear," there's not really anything high-tech about it. "Post-apocalyptic" or "neo-primitive" might be more appropriate. Hub cap necklaces, hats made out of barbecue grills, purses made out of cereal boxes and rubber car mats. This is the kind of high fashion one might imagine wearing after the world has run out of oil, the rainforests are gone, and the local supermall offers nothing but mountains of rubble (fashion accessories?) and lurking blood-thirsty mutants. Looking at her art, one can almost see cute little René Cigler skipping up and down the rows of some giant Cleveland junk emporium harvesting bits and pieces of fallen post-industrial fruit to add to her bizarre concoctions.
A catalog of Cigler's very affordable jewelry is available on request.
René J. Cigler
The Bobé Link Collection
1250 Riverbed Road
Cleveland, Ohio 44113