My work is about income and wealth inequality. They are based on found graphics and data from online and print media, and are vivid pictures of the financial stresses of our times—of increasing income and wealth inequality, of rising debt, of corporate malfeasance. In bold colors, the paintings are attractive, even cheerful, but they reflect an unsettling reality.
My paintings look abstract. They reference hard-edge geometric abstraction, abstract expressionism, minimalism. In fact, however, the paintings are data-driven and period-specific rather than transcendent. Beyond self-expressive, they depict what’s happening in millions of people’s lives. They embrace Pop Art tactics of found imagery and bright colors, but the source material is unpopular rather than popular media, and they portray the economic and financial conditions roiling our times.
In the gouache paintings, figures based on Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights are juxtaposed against graphs of flat wages, declining savings, rising health care costs. While the figures in the central panel of Bosch’s painting indulge in pleasurable activities, Bosch warned of an inevitable hell to come. The analogy for our times, as we revel in tech toys and gourmet food, is facing an underfunded old age to come. In an era when most people are living with stagnant incomes and paltry retirement savings, the gouache series title asks, Are We Having Fun Yet?