CAAF Residency st[art]@Art Central, January – March 2011
My current series of oil paintings explores modern representations of beauty. I am interested in taking the ethereal and consumable nature of a digital photograph and rendering it in oil paint through laborious techniques modeled after the old masters, in particular Vermeer. Lowbrow culture filtered through highbrow practices.
My process involves painting the entire work in grey scales before glazing in multiple layers of color. Once completed the translucent layers then glow from within as the light is reflected back from the bottom layer. This process requires me to work on multiple paintings at once and results in my entire body of work moving towards completion as one entity. At any given moment in the process a viewer could visit the space and see the entirety of the project even as the paintings continue to be refined towards completion. I look forward to sharing my methods with all who were interested and relish the opportunity to work in a visible location.
Technology allows these girls to be both the subject and the photographer. Their tiny cameras invite the world to witness a private space in a self-directed pose of the beautiful. The photos are destined for the Internet and the vague and faceless notions of audience that entails. Exhibitionists need voyeurs like the lens needs light.
These girls are posing their individual notion of the beautiful and yet a pattern begins to emerge which encompass all of them. Their uniqueness is contained within a recurring set of icons that are quickly read as self-photo. The tilted angle, the forced perspective, and the camera itself immediately sets up the context from the image and dates its origins as a modern phenomena of our culture.
Art has long been interested in beauty and now, through technology, we are given these modern odalisques. Gone is the carefully reclining nude and we are left with a more immediate and happenstance snap shot. The camera lens distorts the body and the flash overexposes large areas of the tilted image. These images exist on the Internet lost in a sea of their own binary code. They are ethereal and consumable, without any tangible existence, for even the cameras they are recorded on create no physical recording of the images.
It is only through bringing these images forth and rendering them with classic art materials and techniques that we might start to recognize them with new meaning. The painting is an object capable of holding our invested thoughts, our own ideas reflected back to us. We can look at them now with new light. Look at these small truths pulled from a forest of falsehoods. They are totems to a brave new beauty.