This series of paintings is rooted in the European tradition of the still life, specifically in the theme of vanitas, with its symbolic reminders of our mortality. Unlike traditional still life, the objects in my work are in contemporary settings depicting the fallout from an unnamed destructive force (the source of which could be nature or man). The settings are suggestive of ruins. They are void of people but full of traces of human activity, mostly activities focused on pleasure: the pleasure of leisure, of the body, and of eating. Like all still life paintings these works are, at their most basic level, a contemplation of the ephemeral nature of life and of the ever-present threat of death.
These paintings are open-ended narratives where the private, interior world of the domestic has spilled out of its boundaries into the natural. Oppositional relationships result: outside/inside, natural/artificial, dirty/clean, nature/culture. A sense of unease prevails as these two worlds are forced together through an act of implied violence, the consequences of which are catastrophic. The pictures are as much about what is contained within the frame as what is outside the picture. In the earlier work, despite the lack of human presence, the paintings have much to do with the body, a body both physical and sexual. Suggested in the debris is the physical act of eating –morsels of food, bread, broken jars, remnants of a picnic, pots and bowls for food preparation – as well as the connotations of sleep, dreams and sex represented by the mattresses.
In the more recent work I have reintroduced the figure in the form of statuary. In presenting the statues as lost or abandoned luxury goods, I am re-contextualizing them and playing off the implicit meanings the statues carry from their original, historical context.
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