Still Life Images
“Asking an artist to talk about his work is like asking a plant to discuss horticulture.”
I believe artists create in order to make sense of the world around them, and more often than not the path an artist chooses to follow may not even make sense to themselves. Ultimately, I feel as though I am making art about concerns that I cannot adequately voice.
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.
Specifically, my work is an interpretation of vanitas still life images imbued with a dark sense of humor. The objects are related to contemporary life, and primarily consist of skulls, unread or unfinished books, children’s toys, empty beer bottles and cans, or scrabble tiles. The mood is bleak, and there is a pessimism that borders on the nihilistic or even misanthropic. 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. The divisiveness and binary nature of contemporary American politics begins to infiltrate my art adding to a general sense of helplessness and hopelessness. It is not simply my place in the universe that I am concerned with, but what the future holds for my children. I am overcome by our current economic system, and the acknowledgement of the depressing reality that I cannot provide a better life for my children than my parents were able to give me. What kind of world are they going to inherit? What opportunities will be available to them?
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.
Part of these explorations involves the limitations of language. Words are imperfect and can lead to confusion. The images are designed to be open-ended and accessible, to invite contemplation, subvert expectations, and be welcome to individual experience with various readings and interpretations. I organize thoughts visually to bring together otherwise incongruent concepts and ideas. These thoughts and ideas are not linear, and oftentimes exist as interlocking and overlapping (possibly even contradictory) threads. The objects that are used and the imagery that is created is a manifestation of this organization.
Drawing is thinking.