The paintings in this series are photographically based. I used natural light – I like what it reveals about the flesh – it’s translucencies, what is hidden underneath the skin. This series was completed while I was subletting a studio at 87 Richardson Street in Brooklyn, hence the name. The photographs I used as raw material were taken at the top of the stairwell under an bank of greyed out windows. The paintings themselves were completed next to the northwest facing windows that overlooked the surging traffic on the BQE. This constant motion outside engendered a sense of restlessness in myself. As a result, the six months I spent in the studio were especially prolific.
In these small figurative oil paintings there is a dialogue between the plastic qualities inherent to painting and the stillness of the ‘still’ photograph. In my process I am especially interested in portraying ideas and emotions that are difficult to express through words, and so find their outlet through physical gesture, posture and facial expression. Using myself as model (and occasionally other persons) I perform emotional theater – enacting and documenting those gestures which seem to capture most succinctly my initial conception for a project, while at the same time allowing for the accidental. By using the ‘instant capture’ made possible by photography I look for those awkward moments which exist when a person’s countenance seems unmade and therefore is at its most fragile. I then reconstruct the chosen images in paint, emphasizing the ‘skin’ of the painting: the surface is puckered, pulled – even torn through to reveal the imprimatura – magnifying the initial gesture and the emotion of the subject. Thus I allow the viewer to experience an emotional climax captured photographically but drawn out, or attenuated, through the medium of painting – a single moment swelling to encompass a larger emotional precedent.