My paintings evoke a kind of magical realism concerned with individualism, loss, mythology and exceptionalism. I paint over gold or silver metal leaf, a substrate of prosperity and achievement, sanctity and transcendence. I create meticulously illusory spaces as reflections of the subjective or ideological spaces we each inhabit, and to engage the viewer’s attention and patience within a visual narrative. My paintings have been devoted to two series since 2015:
In “Numina”, iconic portraiture elevates specific persons through the (seemingly contradictory) unifying treatment of surface, scale, posture and background – similar to the way social media platforms provide individual voice and identity through universal formats and inputs. These likenesses reverberate through digital space, branching into the lives and communities of others outside the bubble of our own experiences (both online and “IRL”). Within our gilded nimbus of data, profiles and contacts, each of us has the ability to curate the kalidescopic content of digital life – what William Gibson called a “consensual hallucination” of “unthinkable complexity… lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind.”
In “Humane Sacrifice”, I juxtapose ethereal figures with radiant but ruined landscapes. Colourful yet unearthly persons are present yet impermanent, creating the possibility for the viewer to see herself within the mythological thinking underscoring contemporary reality. Economist Guy Standing refers to the current generation of young adults as “The Precariat”: our prospects for long-term employment, financial stability and homeownership are diminishing. This increasingly global reality persists in stark contrast with the meritocratic underpinnings of the American Dream I grew up with. Many of these paintings evoke that perennially unsettled reality, combining familiar elements of domestic space with disaster imagery. These pieces are small, referring to the clippings from newspapers, magazines and the internet which inspire them, fostering intimate or private experiences of perdition, change and renewal.
Painting – Oil