The work has always been of a figurative nature, and for the past ten years, executed in a Postmodernist Pop style. Appropriating mass media imagery from various and sundry sources, I create narratives based purely on speculation, often focusing on the issue of gender roles and how the portrayal of those roles have changed in the postwar era. “End Games” is a continuation in this process of creating new and poignant images from a copious image bank I’ve accumulated over the years. Old movie stills, time worn comic books and fifty year old advertising imagery provide ample grist for the creative mill when their interpretation is re-contextualized for viewers in the Twenty First Century. The wholesome American Dream as depicted in it’s original context was both hopeful and full of artificial sentimentality to be certain, but when cultural signifiers of that particular era are juxtaposed with those of subsequent and divergent paradigms, irony and cynicism leak out from all sides with humorous results.
The narratives of this show are based upon observations and speculation regarding intimacy and relationships; how relationships often begin with an intense, almost feral attraction for someone and later evolve (or dissolve) into something entirely different. Unions are seldom equitable and because of a lack of communication, duplicity or any number of a myriad other reasons, the once passionate relationship degenerates into one of complacency and convenience.
I equate the graphic reductive quality of Pop Art to that of a visual shorthand; all extraneous information and details are omitted to pare the image down to it’s essentials. The flat, slick, representation typically associated with the style provides the perfect platform for these anachronistic allegories, especially when the element of sex is introduced. The cold, clinical detachment with which these intimate acts are depicted, in most instances, represents the perfunctory nature in which some of the characters begrudgingly perform them.
The paintings in this show are meant to be humorous, but given their sardonic subtext ultimately become tragic comedies. They present a droll glimpse into the complexities of relationships but in the end are a statement about the loss of romantic passion and intimacy.
Kevin T. Kelly
24 January 2002
Acrylic on Canvas
60 x 78"