Janet Onofrey

Region: South

Website: http://www.janetonofrey.com

City / State: pompano beach, FL

My current body of work is a visual exploration of the contemporary suburban landscape. Cookie-cutter housing developments with strict homeowners' regulations are still a dominant trait of the middle class standard of living. These residents trade individuality, originality and freedom of expression for the safe, hollow comfort of conformity. Landscaping in the planned communities is as contrived as a set design backdrop or Disneyland fairytale. Citizens become interactive extras in a huge "reality show" programmed in virtual mode. This work examines the aesthetics of this suburban illusion that straddles the line between reality and fantasy.

My paintings are actual scenes of a land developer's manufactured environment. The views are familiar and often go unnoticed, yet strongly influence our conduct and thoughts. I paint with an expressive brush stroke in defiance of the established conformity. Birch panels are used to convey the inflexibility of construction materials, but the wood grain is exposed to suggest the layers of illusion that permeates this man-made setting. These paintings address the partitions between residents that encourage isolation, exclusion and segregation.

Because our physical setting affects our attitude, values and perception of the world, this suburban utopia has social influences and consequences. And if we are always guided by other people's thoughts, what's the point of having our own?