Clones and Other Reproductions II
General artistic concerns and themes
At the core of my painting methodology is a commitment to the ‘tradition’ of painting, to understanding the historical dialogue between surface and illusion, the pictorial and the plastic, subject and object. For over a decade and a half I have been investigating, in general, the issue of the mediated representation and, specifically, the problematic relationship between the image and its referent.
The problem of making art intelligible is fundamentally semantic, not aesthetic. In my work, painting subjects (e.g. still-life, landscape, etc.) become ‘convention ready-mades’, a foil, by which to explore the relationship between neutral image and active concept. Often with irony and humor, I hope to encourage the viewer to recognize the inherent slippage—the subject depicted as subject, and the painting as an artistic conceit as content.
Recent body of work: “Clones and Other Reproductions in the New Age of Reason”
“I think, therefore I am.” --Rene Descartes
While the content of these works reference the philosophy of the Age of Reason (empirical observations as the means to verifying experience), their style alludes to 17th-century Dutch painting (trompe l’œil, dark frames). The fidelity of the images call attention to the complexity of appearances and their capacity, simultaneously, to confirm and dispute what we know to be true. The more we see, the more we learn, the less we know.
The artist (reproducer) as creator becomes the ultimate cloner, comfortable with the inherent conflict between original and copy. As a result, a contradictory visual/conceptual cycle emerges. “The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth. It is the truth which conceals there is none. The simulacrum is true.” –Ecclesiastes (Jean Baudrillard, The Precession of Simulacra)
A copy (painting) of a copy (clone) becomes truth.
“Belief is no substitute for Knowledge” –car bumper sticker
Gary Schafter, 2013
Craighead Green Gallery
1011 Dragon Street
Dallas, Texas 75207