Recently I have been making paintings based on games, toys and other forms of entertainment that reflect the universal human desire for amusement, diversion, and stimulation. These seem a proper subject for trompe l'oeil paintings, which by their very nature are intended to divert and entrance us with their illusionism and by the questions they raise - in a playful way - about perception and reality.
Ideas I am exploring include the relatively new (in the entirety of human history) concept of childhood as an extended period of dependency; the process of play as a way to learn; physical objects used as playthings; and the commercial branding of products for sport and play. This is a Game is a succinct expression of my interests - a straightforward presentation of Scrabble tiles arranged as an anagram of the title, which references both the "rules of the game" of illusionistic painting as well as the Magritte painting commonly known as This is Not a Pipe.
Entertainment is not the sole province of childhood. July is a documentation of my own consumption of entertainment as a spectator over a one-month period: an assortment which includes the detritus from film, theater, musical and sporting events. Reading is a common and pleasurable activity; the piece It is a Truth Universally Acknowledged is based on an Austen manuscript, which opens with one of the most famous examples of irony. (Since no manuscript of Sense and Sensibility exists, I created one.) Comics are thought of as adolescent fare, and were inexpensively printed for an affordable childhood read; Something's Going Down in That Museum Right Now depicts a classic printed comic book from the the 70's in mid-read.
These pieces have intersected and been interwoven with my continuing interest in Western art heritage. The contemporary language of images includes historical art works that have been re-imaged successively; an art work is photographed and reproduced ubiquitously, as a postcard, mug, calendar, bookmark, or puzzle, and is disseminated and consumed as another branded product. These images are integrated into new compositions unbounded by historical period or place, as in Lilies and Three Graces (Raphael) and Five Washingtons. The Faithful Cap Pistols is an original composition, but references the well-known William Harnett painting, The Faithful Colt.
My goal as a painter is to create space, whether the table top space in a still life work or the more shallow space of a trompe l'oeil composition. Illusionism, especially the heightened mimesis found in trompe l'oeil, invites the viewer to enter the space of the piece and then persuades them to linger and explore the meaning of the work. A final aim is first to delight the eye, and then intrigue the mind.