In my paintings of oil on wood, canvas, Plexi-glass and mylar, I rediscover and resurrect the people I find in discarded photo albums acquired at flea markets.
In recent history people took snapshots and created photo albums--now the era of analog photo collecting in popular culture is mostly over. In my artwork I explore the color snapshot era of the last 30 years. It is not my goal to copy the photos I find verbatim--but to impart, in artwork, my idea of what these discarded physical objects/artifacts represented, both emotionally and culturally.
Seeking the truth of the past, not simply historical record, I look for hidden expressions of intimacy and human interactions between the figures in the photographs. My paintings obsessively record all of the small details—the touch of hands, a loving gaze… The collections of resulting paintings often evolve into large installations. Usually I spend more than a year on each large painting project.
I counter the flatness and ephemeral quality of the original photographs, with a thick, visceral paint application. I impart a weight and physicality in depicting the persons in the lost photographs—restoring the presence of those forgotten.
Beginning with the discovery of caches of superficial, cheesy snapshots, I finish with collections of paintings that redress history--a providing new perspective of the lives of forgotten people.
My latest art project is a multi paneled installation and accompanying paintings referencing found snapshots of the New Orleans World Fair of 1984. This installation consists of panels of oil on plexi-glass--20 panels (19" x 24"each) displayed on a shelf--30 running feet.
I found these particular snapshots at a thrift store. I grew up in Louisiana a was one of the 7 million attendees. The fair was much anticipated by locals who thought the global event would elevate Louisiana’s second-class cultural status.
Since I attended this fair in 1984, the found snap shots had resonance for me. The New Orleans World’s Fair was the only one ever to declare bankruptcy. My painting installation will examine the historical event-- both the glitzy and colorful surface of the 1984 World’s Fair; as well as exploring the underlying pathos, Louisiana’s culture of corruption and the seemingly inevitable failure of this event.
My installation explores both the memory of one individual visitor as well as the historical event and the pathos associated with its financial ruin.
Other recent projects include the installation “Galactic 99” and the “Blue Screen Series.” These paintings and installation reference photos I found on the wall of a Miami pizzeria—shots of the workers after hours. The vivid ultramarine blue of the paintings suggests not only the tropical Miami environment, but also the blue screens of film making, where figures are shot and extracted from an environments pictorially. In this series I investigate the role of the individual with in a group—studying how, in life, people come together randomly, interact and become close knit community.