My work explores entertainment as a form of escapism, and escapism as an industry. Public entertainment narratives chart the line between truth and fiction, fantasy and reality, public and private. They also induce real, and imagined, private fetishes of public figures. My paintings and supporting text constitute mise-en-scènes for entertainment industry narratives played out amid rumour, scandal and innuendo.
I am interested in the idea of rumours being manifestations of an audience’s desire. In generating rumours, the work exploits the fact that an audience’s participation in gossip is rarely dependant on authenticity. Like Schadenfreude, gossip reflects the pleasure people take in other people’s misfortunes, real or imagined.
Chosen narratives alternate between comedy and tragedy; reoccurring themes explore Eros and Thanatos, the desire for sex and the desire for death. The work looks at how these desires are experienced vicariously by audiences and the non-passive ways narratives are consumed.
Theatrical notions inform the painting approach; different stylistic voices are employed to reflect the character of the protagonists, and the genre of the narrative.
Like gossip, the entertainment narratives are contrived, improvised and distorted. The painting process can change a story as it goes along.
Representative of the complex desires fans have towards celebrities, the paintings cater to an imagined audience’s nefarious desire. The work seeks to engage these same audiences, (the viewer), in a complex form of homage.