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Hot House-ism

April 1, 2008 to April 26, 2008


Hot House-ism

“All Art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.” - Oscar Wilde

My current body of work is based upon exploring these perilous strategies with reference to the art historical traditions of the minimalist monochrome and trompe l’oeil painting. From within the nihilistic austerity of the “zero degree” of painting I presuppose a flowering of subversive possibility: an uncanny and polyvalent flood of associations. For Derrida the flower is a metaphor which “occupies the degree zero in the chain of signification”: origin-less and forever deferring meaning. Baudelaire cannot resist subverting the notion of bouquet-as-poem with his “fleurs du mal.” Huysmans deconstructs binary oppositions of nature/culture, real/artificial, male/female with his grotesque hothouse specimens. Genet assigns floral titles and qualities to his parade of glamorous outsiders who slip between the boundaries of autobiography and fiction. These literary and philosophical allusions evoked by the symbol of the flower are embodied by the trail of crafty detritus dripping, pouring, oozing and growing from beneath the surface of the monochrome. The emergent forms exist in the space between illusionism and installation, riffing on the imaginary space of still life painting. My approach is marked with the lo-fi intimacy and immediacy of my materials of choice: glitter, rhinestones, sequins, neon feathers, yarn and fake flowers on the one hand, and canvas, gesso and stretcher bars on the other. Using the language of decadence, artifice and kitsch evoked by these materials, my work seeks to open up and access the possibility of mythic creation and resistant fantasy.