Standing Room pictured on view at Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT. Fall 2019
The average time it takes a person to look at a painting is 15 to 30 seconds and the time it takes to read an artist statement is considerably longer. I wanted the experience to run in reverse here. How can one experience these longer? Perhaps take selfies with them? Or the occasional glance over when you have forgotten that they were there? You can first come upon these paintings and study them, but I wanted them to linger on in the room with you afterwards. Trick you sometimes into thinking they are real people. I wanted to create trompe l’oeil portraiture, which may be ambitious, but I think it can be done. I believe I am close here. I am not going for photorealistic minute detail because while that is impressive up close, tricking the eye from afar becomes more difficult.
I wanted to honor the people I have depicted with as objectively honest portrayals as I could think of. Everyone is from the Hartford community. Some I am sure you will recognize. The lighting matches the space, subjects are painted to scale and care was put in to eliminate extraneous details. Cast shadows were eliminated so that the subjects come off the wall and out into the room. One flaw here are the floating feet, which could have been corrected if the panels curved at the bottom and the turn in perspective accounted for.
Inspiration for the work comes from artists that walk the tightrope of reality: Peter Doig through his dreamlike paintings, Andy Kaufman's performances, trompe l’oeil painters, and most specifically Marc Sijan's Security Guard at New Britain Museum of American Art. Ernst Jentsch and Masahiro Mori's concepts of the Uncanny Valley are also an inspiration.
*Supported by the City of Hartford Business Development Grants for Artists Program, Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor with funding from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program allocated to the City of Hartford.