These new paintings, called Horizontals, are a continuum with my previous work that examines the relationship of language and image. The images from that series were, for the most part, chosen at random, as were the text references, though the pairing of words, gestures, and images were more deliberate. With the newer work, a minimal landscape with a single horizon line was applied at first, but now has evolved to landscapes with a sun setting (or rising) on the horizon.
A landscape painting with a sunset presents a different kind of psychology for the viewer than a midday scene. Often, aspirational or religious connotations are imputed to the image of a sunset due to mass-produced motivational ephemera, relegating the sunset to a cliché, but the power of landscape as a metaphor of spiritual power has precedents in Romantic painters from Germany and England, and the Hudson River School painters in America.
The sunsets I paint, however, do not reference nature, but the representation of nature, as they are sourced from Instagram. The ubiquity of social media, through memes, democratic accessibly, and sheer volume of content has accelerated the process where a novel image becomes platitude, thoroughly testing Walter Benjamin’s premise on the aura of an image. Everyone will admit that the sunset is a cliché, yet they are still seduced by the beauty and the connection to nature, and by extension, the suggestion of something larger beyond the ordinary is possible. The sunset image is a place for subjective projection.
Before the paint is applied, the text element is written onto the canvas with tape. The image is then painted over and when the painting is finished, the tape is removed to reveal text incised in the surface. The text in these paintings are loose mediations on political and economic discourse, and in contrast to the universality and symbolism of the landscape, represent private axioms of the author.