About the artist.
Artist Statement / Series Description: Slow Fun is a series of interrelated paintings, drawings, and assemblages. Slow Fun refers to stoicism in moments of grief and the process of appreciating that grief. Slow Fun is used loosely—not necessarily a joyous, crawling event—but a prolonged participation in life which is to be observed, digested, and reconstructed.
These paintings, drawings, and assemblages exist as individual artworks, but also contribute to a thematic hive. Translating imagery through multiple mediums establishes a deeper, nuanced physicality and invites déjà vu. The high contrast and sharp line of graphite speaks clearly with a scratch. Oil paint slurs its speech with a pull, drag, and blur. Assemblages remain silent as relics sealed in time.
My imagery is autobiographical, akin to self portraits, wherein I am substituted by the pinball interactions between subjects of the composition, engaged with (or disengaged from) friends and family. Slow Fun attempts to solve emotional memory puzzles, replacing missing pieces with symbolism, both redeeming and damning.
A hanging dog leash casts the shadow of a noose.
A possum extends a branch to a man who plays dead.
A boy in pneumonia’s grip is wrapped in a confetti gown.
Who or what are your artistic inﬂuences and how have they impacted you or your work?
I hope to process and metabolize the work of these three artists by substituting the exhausting critique of society, technology, and materialism seen in Alex Gross’ work with the intimate moral dilemma seen in Dan Lydersen’s playful paintings. While maintaining the maximal, claustrophobic approach to composition shared with Alex Gross, and the sensitivity of Dan Lydersen, the message in my work is decoded through use of heavy personal and spiritual symbols, like that of Daniel Sprick. My work uses personal time-specific subjects (such as toys which define an aspect of life) in conjunction with fractured scenes to explore timeless spiritual, philosophical, and material quandaries.
Breakdown of “Play Dead” symbolism:
-Opossums- five states of empathy paired with imperfect spiritual/philosophical symbols
-considered filthy, ugly, rabid animals -generally not an aggressive animal
-body temperature is too low to facilitate rabies
-“playing dead” is an involuntary defense by nervous system
-symbolize empathy and overcoming ego and self-hatred
-Bop-It Toy- bop it, twist it, pull it
-reptile brain wired for procreation
-early psychology attributed sexuality as motivating force behind all behavior, even play.
-ideally life is simply play, and religious notion of sin penalizes nature, paralyzes growth.
-Magic 8-Ball Toy- fortune reads, “cannot tell now”
-Ouiji Board Cursor- invented by Park Bros Board Games in wake of early twentieth century pop spirituality craze.
-early lesson in personal philosophies of psychic and spiritual phenomenon vs. pop culture hijacking mind with fear and naive and harmful sense of accessibility.
-Light Bulb- glowing, imitates epiphany and confidence in a faith or belief
-UFO- catchall for fringe beliefs and theories. reject status quo, search for alternatives.
-manifested pyschic phenomena, angels, optical illusions, hysteria.
-fine line between extremes of absurdity/uncritical obsession and open-mindedness.
Description of “Invisible Fence”:
Invisible Fence refers to a sense of longing for a friend and the desire to come out of isolation, without having a foot to push off of. Invisible Fence is the thick, intangible barrier which separates one’s inner world from the external—the psychological and emotional restraints we inevitably acquire which sometimes prevent us from visiting the lives of others—the untethered dog, somehow still confined.
Description of “Pneumonia Motel” and “Relics Vacuum”:
Pneumonia Motel comes from a candid photo from 2016 of my brother, Alex, and my dad at Omaha’s Children’s Hospital. Alex was sick with walking pneumonia—a regular occurrence— and I was drawn to the pastel-patterned gown draped over him. These pieces demonstrate how the role of an individual can alter their perception of a shared event. My dad appears exhausted and distraught, recessed into the background, while Alex, although ill, is wide awake and listening to determine whether or not Dad is there at all. There are three repeating black barriers; between the viewer and Alex’s bed, between Alex’s bed and Dad, and the window which separates Dad from the outside world.