Still Life Images
My still life and object images are reflections of anxiety and fears, and I view them as an extension of my previous work investigating self-portraiture and the human condition.
This body of work navigates the interplay between the still life genre and the complexities of human experience, drawing upon diverse visual elements to evoke introspection and contemplation. They are an interpretation of vanitas still life images imbued with a dark sense of humor, and the objects in these contemporary memento mori pieces are related to everyday life, and primarily consist of skulls, unread or unfinished books, children’s toys, empty beer bottles and cans, or scrabble tiles. By incorporating these objects within the framework of my compositions, I am exploring the cyclical nature of existence, reflecting upon the inevitable transition from youthful exuberance to our own mortality.
The small and intimate scale forces the viewer to approach and inspect the artwork closely, examine the details, and consider the labor involved. I find creating artwork to be contemplative and self-reflexive, and the scale imparts that experience onto the viewer. The mood is bleak, and there is a pessimism that borders on the nihilistic. A general sense of ennui permeates the work as I struggle to find my place and inject meaning into my life while examining the overwhelming presence of my failures as a husband, a father/provider, an artist, and an educator. My work also examines the underlying vulnerabilities and uncertainties that define the human condition by exploring the limitations of written language (expressed in Latin or as nonsense portmanteaus). Juxtaposing the playfulness of childhood toys with the stark reminder of human mortality represented by skulls, I underscore the fleeting of human desires with the impact of unfulfilled expectations.
My images are designed to be open-ended and accessible, to invite contemplation, subvert expectations, and welcome individual experiences with various readings and interpretations. This body of work has become a document tracing pre-pandemic despair to our post-pandemic landscape and the existential dilemmas and emotional confusion that define the contemporary human experience. As mid-life crises and a post-pandemic collective anxiety work themselves into my compositions, I create a visual narrative that resonates with the viewer's introspection. The divisiveness and binary nature of contemporary American politics begins to infiltrate my art adding to a general sense of helplessness and hopelessness. I am overcome by our current economic system, and the depressing reality that I cannot provide a better life for my children than my parents were able to give me.