Happy in the End: Artist Statement
The work in Happy in the End is about recontextualizing universal symbols, the ones that are so prevalent they are considered clichéd, in order to construct emotive visuals out of the commonplace.
While creating my latest work I was specifically thinking about the sublime, defined not by awe-inspiring beauty but by the feeling generated when experience surpasses the ability to comprehend. Rational thought is affronted and disrupted by this feeling, and I want to reflect this disruption in my work.
In paintings like This Side of the Blue (image 1) and Happy in the End (image 2) I try to invoke a feeling of sublimity with simple skull and flower motifs. I use a gothic theme to demonstrate synchronicity between beauty and horror. Layering the beautiful and the horrific through these subjects serves as both a juxtaposition and a pairing. Decay/death and beauty/life are complementary visions; we value beauty (the beauty in youth or in a flower blossom) because it temporarily defies the inevitability of decay.
What is often depicted as battle between life and death strikes me more as a co-dependency than a struggle. The paintings represent an equilibrium between alternating instincts, the death drive and the will to live, ideally creating emotional impact and generating a sense of the sublime.