Friday, August 29, 2008
Concepts Of My Self
Taking a break from painting for a week, I've had plenty of time to add to the increasingly large and definitive archive of works on my site. Despite the many, colourful, Pop-influenced paintings that dominate my oeuvre (love that word), it's becoming more and more apparent that the core of my development has been conceptual rather than representational or even autobiographical (which is how I tended to think of my work when I was younger). Even in the earliest works, like the relatively crude Homogenous Babes collages, I am picking at the edges of ideas about how we appropriate and synthesize experiences from entertainment and advertising media (instead of real life) to shape our identities – diminishing individuality and creating social behaviour that is not dissimilar to children playing dress-up. Clearly, the large, glossy, enamel paintings I assembled as series from 1998 on, such as Ultra Violet One and later, Career Babes, were intended to be viewed as single, integral works – imposing, immersive experiences, driven by abbreviated narratives and overtly manipulative, advertising-style visual cues. Even my early Polaroid series, such as Pola Auto-Erotica, were edited to be 'read' in the same, interconnected way as a fashion layout in a magazine.If there is a consistent flaw in my early work, it is that I hadn't yet committed to the elemental conceptuality of the work. I was fighting it, to-ing and fro-ing between thinking of myself as a traditional painter – committed to subjective, self-expressive, well-crafted representational work – and something a lot less easily defined, a multi-disciplinary provocateur for whom painting was just one of several means to an end. And the end is getting people to think beyond the work in front of them, beyond the alluring material of their hyper-mediated consumerist culture, and recognise what they've lost of themselves.