"Bathers is a new group of sociological paintings, derived from found web images, focusing on a particular cultural experience in this case, the summer retreat. The paintings are based on vacation photos, snapshots of Americans engaged in the long-standing, class-specific summer ritual of departing the city and suburbs for shore and lake houses during the summer season. The images explore the contradictory nature of these escapes both their sensory pleasures and their accompanying feelings of isolation, dislocation and wistfulness.
As the title suggests, this series is in part an homage to the late-19th-century Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painting theme of bathers, particularly as explored in the works of Manet, Seurat and Monet. Those paintings reflected a complex and contradictory attitude toward urban society and fashionable resort life, keenly depicting the social changes that made the sea-bathing fad possible, while, at the same time, reaching longingly back to classical themes of the nude in an idyllic landscape. I am drawn to their uneasy balance of modernity and nostalgia.
In their depiction of a contemporary version of the seaside retreat, my own paintings also reflect a deep ambivalence toward their subject. I feel a strong sense of affection and nostalgia for the pleasures of these rituals, for their moments of beauty and physical pleasure. At the same time, I want to convey some of the sense of malaise and anxiety that come with routinized periods of leisure the sense of always chasing after an experience that never quite lives up to expectations.