Crystal Leisure, 2007
Toomey Tourell Fine Art
San Francisco, CA
December 18 - January 31, 2008
Crystal Leisure arose out of a former series titled stasis (2005) which was inspired by the final scenes of 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968). These scenes depict a man secluded in a strangely pristine interior, where the only evidence of human culture and history resides in furnishings and art, perhaps most strikingly the series of rococo-like paintings depicting people at play. The pseudo-redemptive power of the images of leisure for the isolated man led me to the work of Nicolas Lancret, in particular, his painting titled Luncheon Party in the Park. Its artifice, especially in regard to the comportment of the people around the table, is almost crystal-like, frozen forever in a state of mirth and congruity. The revelers' poses refract into figurative geometries, whose asperity and compulsive gesture reveal the weight of guilt and pain often hidden under displays of wealth and certitude. In Crystal Leisure, this aspect of leisure is demonstrated through the gesture of paint against images of pastoral levity -- the heavy areas of paint assume a performance of emotive signature while simulating the ritualized exuberance of the baroque.
The work in the show is comprised of three variations on the theme of Crystal Leisure. The first variation (CL (a)-CL (e)) is based on Lancret's paintings titled, Luncheon Party in the Park (1735), Picnic after the Hunt (1740), and The Game of Pied-de-Boeuf (1743). The Lancret images are painted in reverse underneath the sheet of polycarbonate with the surface being covered with swirls of thickly applied paint which objectify the artifice of the behavior portrayed in Lancret's paintings. The second variation (cl1-cl5), which is constructed with acrylic paint, transfers, and letraset lines on mylar, depicts the mechanics behind the spectacles, as machine like forms churn out highly articulated forms of paint interposed with images from the Luncheon Party in the Park. The third variation (acrystal-acrystal5) consists of studies of the crystalline acrylic forms. The equivocating effect of the elaborate acrylic "crystals" against the dramatic frames reach a kind of stasis as suggested in the interior scene from the film as they both formalize a state of manufactured presence.