The objective of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create an alternate reality of the same intensity. - Giacometti
Painting has an impressive and enduring history in Western Art. While I sought out a classical, atelier-style training for my own education, I do not feel that representational art must be the antithesis of modern conceptual artwork. In fact, I see myself as a contemporary conceptual artist working in the medium of representational image-making.
One allegorization of method that allows for a synthesis of the conceptual and representational within my work is the relationship of the paint surface to the viewer. During the Renaissance, formal linear perspective made the picture plane into a literal window onto a mathematically perfect and idealized world. Subjects moved closer to the picture plane over time until the mid 19th century, when, due to the advent of photography, painting was forced to redefine its role in society. As the horizon line gradually moved higher and higher with the Impressionist movement, the picture plane morphed from window to surface until we, as viewers, are essentially looking straight down on a flat plane of color and rich impasto paint applications.
By the 20th century, viewers were being bombarded so pervasively by highly crafted advertising images that the Pop Art movement sought methods to break through our mental image filters by activating the picture plane in the opposite direction. Andy Warhol called this concept a “rupture”: through the use of repetition, simplification and disturbing images, he made the picture plane assertive and aggressive, hooking the viewer’s gaze almost against their will.
Within my own work, I attempt to create passages that allow the image to become active in both directions without being aggressive. I hope to craft invitations to would-be viewers and construct paintings that are open and atmospheric in places. Other places offer up the texture of the painting support for inspection and are populated with subjects wishing to interact with the viewer. I see my series of shushing paintings in particular as working across the history of the picture plane and offering an invocation to the viewer to stop, if just for a moment, and to be alone with their own thoughts.