Stemming from my interest in Western art is the tension between its representation as both myth and reality, reflected in its often-ambiguous relationship with authenticity. While historically paintings of the American have claimed historical fidelity, they often feature many “improvements” fabricated by the artists including overtly theatrical lighting, adjustments to spatial relationships and the kind of things required to create a sublime image of the Western frontier suitable to satisfy their audience’s appetite back east. The use of realism in these works authenticates that image of the West as the ‘real’ west. By seeing the cracks in the cowboy’s face and the creases of the saddle, one finds the evidence to support the mythology.
In my paintings, I attempt to turn these strategies on their heads, utilizing realism for a much different goal. By constructing miniature dioramas of western landscape out of cardboard and then meticulously rendering the minute details in oil paint I aim to subtly subvert the hallmarks of this genre. By detailing even the creases and corrugation of the cardboard, I instead highlight the fabricated nature of these culturally constructed images, calling their ‘authenticity’ into question.