I know now that it was a “boy thing,” about privileging prowess at the edge of control and having the confidence to let things go all strange…
Dave Hickey, Air Guitar
Within my work, I am interested in painting’s potential as a radically contemporary narrative form. Utilizing brief texts that I write and images appropriated from popular and subcultural sources, the paintings explore the formation and shaping of working-class masculinities through culture. Drawing from narrative theory, contemporary and postmodern fiction, semiotics, and film theory and bound by a third wave intersectional feminist framework, the paintings act as a rebuke of toxic masculinity. The work utilizes a wide range of painting languages and culturally derived visual vocabularies to address the issue of gender, and more broadly the expectations and assumptions that are implicit within a socially configured identity bound by class. The visual language of digital culture–derived from video games, early computer imaging, and .jpg glitches–appears alongside traditional painting techniques and references to illustration, print media, and graphic design, to create an intertextual network that addresses an articulation of masculinity manifested in Generation X.
I am deeply interested in the impact of technology on the discourse of painting. As a maker of images, I’m struck by the challenges and opportunities presented by our constant immersion in a wash of screen and monitor based images. Ultimately, I am investigating these questions: What should paintings look like at our present moment? Can paintings compete with the LCD screen? How can the visual language of digital culture be co-opted by the practice of painting? Over the past ten years, I’ve devised techniques that allow me to integrate this visual language into my work by the use of an airbrush and cut vinyl stencils to create 8-bit digital fields, painted areas that appear to be lo-resolution .jpgs, and computer derived typefaces. My use of these techniques has depended on the integration of technology as a method to produce the work using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and sign cutting software. The inherent characteristics and possibilities of these programs have impacted my use of color, saturation, and design. The most recent paintings utilize complex shaped panels that have been fabricated with the aid of a large format CNC router. The shapes of the panels are based on the polygons that make up video game image rendering, band logos, and visual artifacts from low-resolution digital images. All of these sources have appeared in my work, but they now also form the exterior edges of the painting substrate as a means of embedding my conceptual content in every level of the painting (images, surface, color, substrate).