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Birthday Party (Nostalgia)

I think everyone fantasizes about something from the past, this rather abstract term that, more and more, seems to have a drug-like effect on a generation or two of people who fear for the future. What, for one, is going to happen? Politically, environmentally? What interests me is a collective obsession with certain parts of the 20th century, which was in fact- despite the clothes, the art, and the architecture- a frankly miserable and traumatic century. Yet T.V. shows such as Downton Abbey, Mad Men, and many others, draw viewers in, make them want to “live” in those times, dress up in Lanvin-esque clothing or drive cars like Don Draper. To me, this is the unconscious- or, conscious- reaction to the realization that our present, and our future, is very troubled, and we, as a global community, don’t necessarily know what we can do. The childhood birthday party acts as a platform for me to explore apparently simpler times, uncomplicated by experience. This wish to return- be it to a memory, place, or perhaps somewhere one longs for but has never physically been to- is the basis behind my exploration of this sickness and grief that I define as nostalgia.

Birthday Party (Nostalgia) 2019, Oil on panel, 60" x 36" x 3.5"

The childhood birthday party acts as a platform for me to explore apparently simpler times, uncomplicated by experience. This wish to return- be it to a memory, place, or perhaps somewhere one longs for but has never physically been to- is the basis behind my exploration of this sickness and grief that I define as nostalgia. One can only return so far: the children in these paintings for instance seem to plead to the viewer, an invitation. But the viewer, like one surviving nostalgia, can never go back. The series initially began with a study of photographs taken during the 1960’s of my mother and her siblings however, in future I wish to consider how to refine my approach to this theme, and, how to depict it through paint, or even other artistic methods.