Scott J. Dupree- Artist Statement
My childhood was spent traveling across the United States with a nomadic family, briefly sampling diverse American cultures and the unique regional traditions of rural, urban, and oceanic communities. During my time living on our sailboat and inside our tiny Volkswagon, my world-view evolved as the front yard of my home continually shifted between the extremes of North America's geography. I only had a few toys and a dog to distract me from my sketchpads and pencils.
The constantly shifting juxtapositions and combinations of American heritage provided me with a curiosity for the multitude of ways in which people have incorporated their backgrounds into their foregrounds. This mechanism of developing Americana combined with my own upbringing as a bi-product of formerly-French Southern confederates crossed with Polish/Jew immigrants act as the springboard for my current explorations into the American condition.
My art is painted still life theatre that critically examines the historical, social, and political conditions that define the 21st century. The entire world is experiencing a fundamental shift away from the previously accepted status quo that man can only be truly aware of and responsible for: his immediate environment. Tribes of people previously isolated from each other by mountains, oceans, and deserts are converging, and are faced with a choice between assimilation or isolationism. All around us the primitive and the modern clash, and like a giant lava lamp they swirl and combine to create a new social fabric. My paintings attempt to capture and bottle that swirl.
A common theme of this body of work is the use of costumes as substitutes for a characters' interaction with their environment. Each of these people is a direct extension of the environment, which they created for themselves to illustrate their own personal social condition. Many of the images are illustrations of costumes that I've built to life scale for audience interaction. This practice stems from my experiences in prop based improvisational theatre, where our troupe would create entire narratives out of found artifacts, scrap wood, spray paint and piece-meal costuming.
Additionally I've incorporated the traditional hobby-horse costume of the Basque, which combines the attributes of man and horse while simultaneously demonstrating the man's dominance over the horse. This has translated into my work as an allegory for man's desire and ability to custom design his own niche within the greater social structure.