Works in Progress
My works in progress consist of two series of paintings: "Dutch Inspired" and "Scroll Culture."
“Dutch Inspired” is a series of flower paintings that were dually inspired by the flower paintings of the Dutch Golden Age and contemporary life. Similar to the way that flower painting served to remind the Dutch of the brevity of life during a time of plague, these flower paintings were conceived of during the COVID pandemic, wherein life is fragile and not guaranteed. 21st century capitalism is furthermore not altogether different from the class mobility and wealth accrual of the 17th century Dutch Golden Age and these paintings are a nod to that similarity. Like Dutch merchants, contemporary art collectors also showcase their wealth through the accrual of contemporary art, which they acquire from a similar type of fine art marketplace. Although flower paintings were moralizing depictions of wealth’s transient nature, they were nonetheless expressions of wealth, luxury, and beauty in the same way that contemporary art continues to serve as a symbol of status, luxury, and aesthetic taste. Whereas the 17th century saw the emergence of a cut flower market, the 21st century has likewise seen the cut flower market thrive and flowers themselves are still celebrated as symbols of love, beauty, and wealth.
Like the paintings in “Dutch Inspired” and the contemporary cut flowers that it uses as reference, the Dutch would also portray flowers in then impossible arrangements with blooms from all four seasons being depicted at once. In other words, although contemporary practices in the floral industry have made it possible for different types of flowers to be available to consumers at all times of the year, the Dutch only had access to flowers during their natural blooming cycle – although they supernaturally depicted flowers of all seasons together in their paintings. This is furthermore similar to the nature of Photoshop, wherein graphic designers and artists are able to create supernatural images of unnaturally occurring phenomena from ordinary photographs. Coincidentally, the paintings in “Dutch Inspired” were also modeled after Photoshopped images of found flowers artificially arranged together, thereby taking yet another cue from the Dutch.
“Scroll Culture” is a series of paintings that make reference to the heterogeneous images one comes across on digital and social media. The solid colored bars at the top and bottom of each image are an allusion to the menu bars that appear on Instagram, other forms of social media, and digital applications. In “Portrait of a Woman with Cell Phone on Instagram” we see a mash-up portrait of the different types of individuals one might come across on social media as they are engaged in a range of activities. The woman has many different types of skin and hair colors and she is pictured talking, listening, looking at her cell phone, being excited and being calm.