1994 – 1995

Graphic Domestic Abstracts; paintings on vinyl

At a time when I have found a new, personal sense of ease with the often clamorous dissonances present in the geography and culture of the greater Los Angeles basin, there is a new found sensitivity toward these paintings. Dissonance seems inevitable in a place shaped by schisms of appearance and reality in public and private life, by theme parks and cosmetic surgery; suburban sprawl has yet to reach its capacity or a maximum speed. Southern California has transformed leisure into a compelling experience, and everything seems to be mediated between celebrity or fantasy. Life in this seemingly limitless, energy-swallowing habitat requires a realignment of expectations and an acclimation to the presentness of life in the sunshine.

The subjects of my paintings are those familiar objects, such as televisions, computer components and stereo equipment. Or, they are simple architectures from buildings to suburban tract-housing, the still-life where a flower arrangement maintains a unique plastic beauty when painted on this industrial modern age material, transparent vinyl plastic. This is a significant choice because of it’s see-through quality, it is kitsch and modern. It is important to see through the painting. Previously, paintings were painted on opaque surfaces such as canvas, paper or wood panels. Here the vinyl surface conforms to the stretcher-bars as with a conventional canvas. The stretcher-bars become protected and preserved by the vinyl. Occasionally the frame is visible, other times it is obscured by the opacity of the painted subject. These paintings depend on the wall underneath for it’s diffused and reflected light as well as it’s support. Light and shadow play an important role, blurring the boundaries between itself and sculpture or itself and film. For this association with film I continue to explore the way light passes through the surface, like celluloid film or the way light is omitted from projection (this is wen the surface is opaque and not necessarily black). Luminosity and intensity are enhanced by the synthetic ground as well as the light and space created between the wall and the surface of the painting. The paint remains thinly applied as part of the conservative balance of the painter’s brush strokes, which may be seen when transparent as it may be framed by the hard-edged opaque areas.
The surface quality is slick, without brushstrokes, because the paint is applied behind the vinyl. A clean reflective quality like that of a window, glass and in this case plastic.

These paintings serve as a meditation on the beauty of banal, everyday things. They resonate with the association that life is easier with modern living, come escape into the new age, make your fantasy a reality. This is my Californian suburban experience that I explore.