THE CULT OF BEAUTY
A synthesis of my background in fine art, fashion and religion, “The Cult of Beauty” is a series of realistic figurative oil paintings portraying a social and philosophical narrative. Based on the concept that the human spirit longs for approval and acceptance, these paintings examine how a delicate self-worth can be undermined in a society where standards of idealized beauty seem hallowed and venerated.
An isolated female figure is depicted in religious – like rituals. Both Biblical and Occult references are made in order to enhance the idea of worship and broach the topic of choice with regards to this paradox of freewill and servitude. Vintage fashion industry props and flesh-toned foundational garments set the time and help stage the raw environment of these paintings which promote a voyeuristic observation of human nature’s vulnerability when engaged in the universal struggle for acceptance.
I’ve heard it said that choice is our one true possession. Choice, coupled with the idea of vulnerability and tempered with hope or viewed through the lens of weakness, is more appealing to me than idealization. As a contemporary representational painter my art deals with life’s experiences as expressed through the physical form, but while I’m passionate about portraying the human struggle regarding choices – rather than providing answers – I am more inclined to ask questions.
WOODS AND GROVES
Following the foundations of choice in The Cult of Beauty, I have broadened the narrative by taking the figure out of a personal environment and placing them in Woods and Groves. Woods are legendary in literature and fairytales; pictured as frightening dark places, they represent a hostile environment where enemies hide and dangers lurk
– Little Red Riding Hood meets the Big Bad Wolf. Historically groves were marked sites of idol worship and human sacrifice, while Mythology tells stories of the lusty exploits of women and treacherous pools of water where the hearts and minds of self-indulgent wonderers could be overwhelmed and transformed by peering too long at their own reflection. Often ill prepared for this environment, those who find themselves in The Groves must choose either to rise above their powerful lure or be subdued by them.
Bending the subject matter from idol worship to self-worship, Curiouser takes a fantastical look at the consequences of self-absorbed choices. The surrealistic landscapes of these works move the figures from the dangers that might be perpetrated upon them in Woods and Groves, to a satirical but more eccentric and self-destructive environment. This nonsensical place is a distortion of reality that could only exist down the rabbit hole, where checkerboard floors and impossible transformations aid the narrative of self-adoration and entitlement. The figures in Curiouser are totally given over to this lifestyle; they have polished their reality into a hyper-idealism and found power in self-indulgence. Comfortable and secure in their choices, they are unaware of the true dangers of this delusion or the temporal nature of their existence.