This painting was inspired by Manet's Olympia, as well as Desiderio's Cockaigne, as well as, and to a lesser degree, David's Death of Marat. Three of my all time favorite paintings, and obviously two of the most important paintings in the history of western art. You can see larger images of this painting as well as the rest of my paintings on this page on my website. I included the paintings that inspired this piece in the image, as well as some of my other favorite paintings.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
This painting means different things to different people. For me, I wanted to make a violent painting, and I wanted to make a painting about betrayal. I thought, because Joshua and I are often mistaken for brothers or even identical twins, it would read as brothers fighting one another. Which made me think of the biblical story of the Cain and Abel (from which the title is taken – Genesis 4:9). However most people read it as my wrestling myself, which is also an interesting concept so I like that reading as well. I made three paintings of it, the first two are smaller ( 15" x 15" and 17" x 17") and a larger one ( 59" x 59"). I think the smaller versions are more successful because they are more violent, but the larger one has it's own merits. I made a couple of drawings that were inspired by Jenny Saville's recent drawings.
I included these pictures that Joshua created just to show you what it would look like if I or he really was wrestling ourselves. Turns out that Joshua and I really do look alike.
Even though they look very different from my painting, this was inspired mainly by Bo Barlett's painting Goddess, and to a lesser degree Vincent Desiderio's painting Nous I. What I like about Bartlett's painting, is that the subject of the painting should be the woman, after all, she's supposedly a "goddess", however the subject ultimately ends up being the blanket around her. I also wanted a major element of the painting to be pink, mainly for the challenge of it, so I bought that pink comforter. After the photo shoot with Caroline I went ahead and just used said pink comforter on my bed, mostly because I didn't want to throw it away or take it back to the store. The reflection that it made in the room when the drapes were open was consistently stunning.
I wanted to show the process a little bit, to show the translation from the source imagery to the final painting. I use the photograph more as an armature than anything else, I allow myself to change the image to better serve my formal and conceptual interests. I also wanted to show what inspired me to make work. The major influence on this piece and my current series of work is this work by David Hockney. The title is from Franz Kafka's short story of the same name, The Hunger Artist.
This piece was also influenced by an experience I had, helping an old lady that had fallen in her driveway get back into her house. She wasn't friendly, and she didn't want me near her house, but I wanted to make sure she was okay. Regardless i was kind of horrified by the peak inside her house I got, because she was a hoarder. These images were taken from one or more of the television shows about hoarders, but for me, I thought she acted as a kind of Ghost of Hoarding Future for me. I definitely have the capacity to live in my own filth without much opposition, so the painting acts a warning to myself to not allow that to happen. It reminds me of Francis Bacon's famously cluttered studio. I love the formal qualities of painting detritus, because there are hints of saturated color here and there, and it has a very abstract quality.
Francis Bacon's studio...Bacon was really the first painter that I really got invested in, and I wanted to emulate him in some way, so for the first few years that I had a studio, I felt like I needed to create a similar chaotic situation in order to focus properly...I don't think that that was that smart of a conclusion.