What started out playfully enough as time travel and an excuse to dress my friends up as circus performers turned out to be pretty serious. Once I committed to recreating the full reality that Walt Kuhn’s paintings suggest - from the lighting, models and makeup to the costumes and backgrounds - I saw what he saw. I could then freely and honestly exercise my own interpretive eye, and, as Baudelaire put it: “avoid borrowing the eyes and the feelings of another…”
This series is an homage to Walt Kuhn and his struggle to find his own artistic way. It celebrates the brightly clad entertainers of Kuhn’s paintings -he called them “metaphors”- and shares his pursuit of form, “the universal substance of art.” The theme of le masque and the dynamic of revelatory deception weave their way through each stark design and darkly shadowed eye, raising questions of identity and disguise.
I had often wondered what my brush would do with some of Kuhn’s arrangements and I have always been fascinated by the turn of last century and the art world of the time. This body of work is the beginning of a humble meditation on both.