Back Pages

Text by Lizz Dunlop

The authors of Still-Life arrangements have always sought to impart some message to the viewers. Whether it was an itemization of knowledge, activities, or societal values- the intent to share knowledge was present. Another common thread in this genre, was the underlining of the temporality of life. Perhaps this was to make viewers aware that the sharing of information can transcend the grave- even if human life cannot.

In Backpages , the lineage of the Still-Life is apparent, a quasi-cabinet of curiosities is displayed, made up of select objects found within the artist’s studio. Frames, glass, mirrors, and walls comprise the majority of the pictorial space, with interjections of the figure. Abstracted by cropping, grid-like windows mingle with defined abdominal muscles, producing an echoing of form. Tangible and intangible visual elements are layered. Light and reflections in glass and on mirrored surfaces is captured in photographs, later transferred by the artist into paintings.

The views of the exterior and interior worlds, in the studio paintings, focuses heavily on the varying degrees of transparency within the individual, depicted layers. The inclusion of the human form thus draws clear parallels to the varying degrees of transparent (or public) and opaque (or private) layers possessed by the individual. Windows also gain a second dimension here, as permeable portals to the outer world, allowing the filtration of light and form to imprint upon interior surfaces.

Just as the immediate exterior world of the studio influences the interior, so too do we the viewers share in an animation of the surface in an impermanent way. In our mental reflection upon the painted product, we are both bringing life and death to the image. By our movement through the space, there is a reiteration of the temporality of experience, so central to the purposes of this genre.