Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Foyer (For My Wake) by Wesley Freese

Foyer (For My Wake), 2010, by Wesley Freese
15" X 20", Oil on Linen (image via artist)

"This painting is part of a series of paintings I’m working on, which I call “Interiors”. There are some generalized themes I’m applying to the series of “Interior” paintings, which were applied to this painting. The overriding idea for the series is how space is organized and how that might be an extension of interior identity. I intended for the series to be an exploration and analysis of places I inhabit to see if the composition of things within them might reveal something. To do this I envisioned images that might be similar to police crime scene photographs. The “crime” in this instance involved me undergoing an emergency appendectomy, which was the first serious medical issue in my life. Doctors say they can never precisely diagnose what causes an appendicitis, and they couldn't tell me what caused my appendix to fail. Given no proximate cause for my illness, I took up my camera and tried to capture any evidence in my house that would cause my appendix to fail. I wasn’t literally looking for a cause to an appendicitis in the things in my house, but I did have the idea for a painting project that might display a philosophy of feng shui gone horribly wrong.

For the project I felt the structure of the images was very important. I didn’t want images composed according to aesthetic sensibilities or principles of design. I wanted images that would be more utilitarian looking, in the sense that they would serve to document evidence of something wrong in the design of my home, which could be generalized to a larger way of living. “Foyer” actually has a fairly balanced composition, but there’s things getting cropped off the top, left and bottom edges of the canvas. Because the composition in this painting is fairly stoic, I wanted to depict a more dimly lit space than most of my other paintings, to try and instill a somber mood to the image. Beyond the composition and mood in the painting, I mainly focused on painting the details of the few objects in the picture as faithfully as I could, while minimizing my subjectivity in rendering them. The level of detail in the painting is heightened to more than what the human eye might normally catch upon a casual viewing of the scene, which I think gives the image a peculiar appearance.

With only a few, sparse items contained in the image, and a lot of open space, trying to make such an austere image compelling was a challenge. I've painted representational images previously, but I've not worked on a painting with so much attention to detail. Surprisingly I found it to be quite engaging creating the work. Over the past few years I’ve moved more and more into the genre of realism in my painting, with some trepidation, but also with enjoyment. I particularly enjoy Dutch Realist paintings. It’s partly true that we’re not in complete control of where our creative interests will take us, but in these endeavors you just have to follow it to see where the interest will take you. This painting is one of those processes." - Wesley Freese

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