Tangles are a series of paintings consisting of masses of people, layered and intersecting, in differing scales, some receding, others popping out to the forefront. Upon closer inspection, the people are actually celebrities tangled together, some instantly recognizable, others less so. I restrict the palette as a tool for the viewer, to help untangle and eventually reveal some complete portraits. The viewer’s proximity to the work creates different effects. Up close, it’s possible to differentiate individuals, but at a distance they appear almost to dissolve into abstract expressionism. The organic lines beg to be followed, but form an impossible maze; when combined with the ambiguous positive and negative space, a tension forms that is both chaotic and compelling.
A similar tension is triggered by watching Entertainment Tonight, The Insider and Access Hollywood all in one night, or by reading tabloids cover to cover. My thoughts are awash with the fabulous and minute details of celebrities’ lives. With no chance of interaction, I’m left to judge people I don’t really know at all: intrigued by some, disgusted by others, alternating between feelings of superiority and jealousy. I feel guilty that I’m entertained by the triumphs and struggles of these opulent strangers, that I’m helping perpetuate their own narcissism, for wasting my time and energy thinking about them at all.
This body of work examines the nature of celebrity and how people relate to it.