Previous Work > Sunday Paintings (2012-2014)

Like my previous work, my latest series, “Sunday Paintings,” builds on source material pulled from social media and photo-sharing websites in order to examine class-specific cultural phenomena. These new, highly autobiographical paintings turn to the leisure activities of my fellow gentrifiers — educated, middle-class professionals who have created seemingly idyllic lives of contentment and privilege in large cities. The images are set within the modern urban utopia of parks, brunch spots and farmer’s markets that are the hallmarks of contemporary gentrification. Continuing to explore the contradictory qualities of modern leisure, the work depicts the pleasures of these environments, while also seeking out unguarded moments of reflection, preoccupation or disengagement.

The series is, in some respects, a reference to a long tradition of urban and domestic genre painting, heavily indebted to the work of painters like Edward Hopper and Gustave Caillebotte. One difference, of course, is that, in a culture transformed by camera phones and social media, the subjects of my paintings are experienced self-reporters. Indeed, part of what intrigues me about the people whose lives are explored in these paintings – other than the fact that I am one of them – is the element of curation that underlies their activities, which are so frequently documented with images (of meals cooked, of places seen, of races run) that convey idealized selves to the world.

What also draws me to these images, and what I hope to convey with my work, is the extent to which they are not simply displays of self-satisfaction. Within these images exist undercurrents of self-doubt, anomie and status anxiety, all of which rest uneasily alongside the satisfaction the images project. It is these contradictions that I try to explore in the work. Through the long and contemplative process of painting – compositing, refocusing, drawing from multiple sources – the images are slowed and shifted, transformed from a fleeting record of individual achievement into something more complicated and broadly resonant.

Farmer's Market
oil on panel
30"x40"
2012
Broad Street Run
oil on panel
30"x40"
2014
Community Garden
oil on panel
30"x30"
2014
Food Trucks
oil on panel
24"x18"
2014
Playground
oil on panel
20"x16"
2014
Brunch
oil on panel
16"x20"
2014
Bike Tour
oil on panel
16"x20"
2014
Boot Camp
gouache on paper
10"x8"
2014
Dishes
gouache on paper
10"x8"
2014
Sling
gouache on paper
10"x8"
2014
Cooking Class
gouache on paper
10"x8"
2014
Popsicles
gouache on paper
10"x8"
2014
Apples
gouache on paper
16"x20"
2014
Pruning
gouache on paper
10"x10"
2014
Digging
gouache on paper
10"x10"
2014
Planting
gouache on paper
10"x10"
2014