So Majestic has a feeling of other worldliness, or fantasy. Is this a real space or an ideal representation of home to you?
The term ‘real’ is so subjective. I’ve been thinking about this specifically in relation to the home because in moving from place to place, the space I think of as my home bleeds from one structure to the next. So where is my real home? Is it where I am now or where I am from? Isn’t it a construction of both? Complicating the discussion is the fact that the greenhouse in So Domestic only exists in the context of this painting. It was never a direct observation or photograph of a place you could walk into. It is a construction, but is no less real for being so.
The notion of fantasy is something I’ve been struggling with in my work. It definitely plays a role when the studio becomes a site for experimentation and play, allowing for flights of fancy. I think the sky in this painting is an example of taking a natural phenomenon and letting it run its course as an invention – a memory or an idea of a real sky. Like a child, I still stare at the landscape around me with incredible wonder. At the same time, I’m a little self-conscious about overplaying that hand, and I think the title for the piece tries to reflect that complexity. It kind of makes fun of itself at the same time it attempts seriousness. And at the end of the day, fuck yeah. It’s fantastical.
As you said in your last interview that Cramped Apartment is more closely related to paintings you have been making in the past 3 to 4 years, does that mean that So Majestic is going in a new direction? Do you think you have now changed your art direction from here on?
At the beginning of 2010, I finished a large drawing (Greenhouse) that was the basis for So Majestic, and as soon as it was finished, I knew it would eventually become a painting. That’s really rare for me. Usually when I finish a drawing that isn’t a study, I’m done with the image and the piece exists only on paper. Building the painting altered the composition and objects in the painting to the degree that the two pieces are quite separate, but both the drawing and the painting had the goal of getting the viewer to look up at the great expanse of the world.
This body of work is a natural extension of my 2009 series So Romantic, but in many ways embraces the extremes of that previous work. These pieces are bigger and more ambitious. The saturated palette is more unadulterated, and the shifts in contrast are more abrupt. These paintings are also more taxing to make, but the results are encouraging. I think there is more to explore along these formal avenues, and that will continue in the coming year.
There is no real furniture represented in this piece, only the home’s structure with in the flora’s space. I feel like this painting has more of a relationship to nature than the others, almost as if this home is more a guest in the plants habitat rather than the plants being a fixture in the home. Does this painting have specific ties to the earth and our relationship as human’s living on it?
I think those are all really good observations, and I would agree that there is a kind of environmentalism in this painting. I hope it’s not too preachy though.
Interview by Nelleke Mack