Gallery Affiliations: Frosch + Portmann, Skidmore Contemporary
City / State: Queens, NY
How are images embodied in our world, and to what purpose? A painting may live in a museum, but its image on a book jacket might legitimize the high-culture pretensions of the writing contained therein, or a digital image may get posted online to claim particular social significance. Today, reproductions are sited in a multitude of contexts, many unthinkable when Walter Benjamin wrote his famous essay on mechanical reproduction. My paintings reframe images that already have (sometimes multiple) purposes in the world, demonstrating a Benjaminian reversal in which the reproduced image becomes singular and unique. I prefer to paint images that already exist, in places from lifestyle websites to advertisements, because what I find is infinitely more interesting to me than the things I make up. Although the paintings are unique, they paradoxically give the image a generous plurality of meaning, freeing it from its specificity as social signifier, marketing strategy, or document. Often, the image becomes more mysterious, owing to the old, weird craft of oil painting and its heavy load of baggage.