The Living Room

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In 1998, when I was 16, my family’s house burned down.  These paintings represent the house in the years before the fire as I remember it. There are few surviving photos of the interior and so I have done my best to reconstruct what I remember of the living room in the years before the fire, with its badly dilapidated roof, water damage, and mess. This was also where my three brothers slept and so besides a television and dining table, the room contained two beds.

These paintings were developed unplanned. While painting I would often remember a particular water gun or school binder that I owned and then do research to find references. The paintings each began in a normal value range, but became darker as I painted, applying many thin glazes. The way in which analogue photography translates darkness into indistinct murky colors and the way objects fade and blur at the periphery has been on my mind. I associate this sort of photographic look with the time period that I was trying to remember. The first paintings in the series of interiors are in cold colors of gray scale plus green and blue, but over the course of making ten paintings, moving 360 degrees around the living-room, the colors gradually became warmer as I became more confident in taking on the natural color palette and in anticipation of painting the fire.

As a 16 year old, in the months before the fire, I was beginning to make drawings and photographs of the interior of the house. That work did not survive the fire. In some ways I feel like I am returning to and resolving that original project that was cut short. As much as I would like these paintings to be realistic documents they are distorted and incomplete. The paintings are like archaeological reconstructions in which I worked carefully to assemble the pieces of the past contained in Google searches, old Polaroid photos, and things remembered in dreams.

The Living Room July 26 to August 26 2016 at Sargent’s Daughters

all Interiors are 32″ by 56″ oil on canvas

Hyperallergic by John Yau

New York Times by Ken Johnson

Art Forum by Johanna Fateman

Art F City Interview by Emily Colucci

Huffington Post Interview by Elizabeth Insogna

 

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