Context is a very important element in my work. Even after I am finished creating the work, my art does not exist until there is some context for its’ interpretation.
In my mind, art is what happens between the artist and the work, between the work and the viewer, and incidentally between the artist and the audience. I have titled this exhibition Creepy sex with Creeps, although few or none of these works have anything to do with actual sex. Because I have suggested that they do, however, I am forcing the viewer to place them in that kind of context – making them “creepy” in their own way, even without that word as a label. (Artists have worked for decades to convince the conservative public that nudity in art is neither vulgar nor necessarily sexual – the body is simply a beautiful form. I intend to set that discussion back by a millennium by implying that that is just not the case – that these innocuous paintings are indeed sexual and indeed creepy, and perhaps not beautiful in the least.)
The subjects of these paintings are quite anonymous, quite harmless and quite passive – though by no means victimized. The bright colours and cartoonish style of painting remind us that this is not real – it is an illusion akin to a carnival experience. The fact that none have legs, few have hands and there are no heads by which to easily identify a subject or personality does not make it more difficult for the viewer to identify with them – in fact, it encourages them to LITERALLY put themselves in the subject’s place – a la bright carnival backdrops through which we have all stuck our heads and had souvenir pictures taken, mementos of bizarre experiences, (though usually having nothing to do with sex.)
I challenge the viewer to answer, or to ask – Who is the creep? Is it the person in the painting or the person having sex with the person in the painting? The device of the cut-out head then, forces the viewer to take this line of questioning one step further. Once they have had the initial reaction – Ew! What a creep! Or – What kind of creep would have sex with them? -they place themselves within the painting, as the very person they were just judging, and their questions are thrown back at them – am I the creep, as the subject of this painting? Or is the creep the person who is staring at me, judging me? Or is the creep the person who painted these paintings? Wait a minute – who gets to decide what’s creepy?
Though we all constantly try to be the one to decide what’s creepy, there’s no such thing as creepy, just shades of what we all enjoy and tolerate – or not.
This series of paintings is hung about two feet away from the wall so that viewers are encouraged to stand behind them, as others pass by – real human eye contact between the viewer behind the painting and the one in front, eye contact between two people behind paintings is an important aspect of this exhibition’s experience.