Why? That's the usual question. Why do these paintings. The answer is usually pretty complicated, but I had several reasons. Here are a few:
Artistic influences. The pop artists Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstien and Jasper Johns all had an influence on these pieces. Of course, most of the pop art everyone is familiar with is far more graphic than my style, but they deal with similar popular imagery. Warhol used products (Campbell soup, Brillo Soap Pads, etc.) in his imagery. I've chosen popular products for these images. Johns chose beer as an icon of his times.
I've chosen wine. And Lichtenstein used the media to relay his message.
I've chosen the pervasive media imagery of popular advertising to reflect on our culture.
But obviously not in the graphic style of the pop artists.
I was also influenced by the photorealists, such as Richard Estes and Chuck Close. I enjoyed Estes for his mundane yet brilliant approach. His paintings of reflections in glass were superb. Close approached his work through portraiture. I think my work has a similar feel. Even though it is similar to a still life, it has elements of portraiture within the composition.
In my earlier paintings I have been influenced by the surrealists, such as Salvador Dali, Paul Klee, and Joan Miro. Much of my earlier work dealt with the use of symbols and symbolism as artistic expression. Wine is resplendent with symbolism. Red wine in particular has spiritual, sexual, bacchanal, celebratory and other symbolic meanings. Just as wine itself is deep and complex, wine symbolism is deep and varied, and appealing to the artist as a nonverbal communicative device.
These artistic influences are in the work and they lead me to define my work as a kind of Pop Realism.
I also chose these images because they reminded me of many varied and pleasurable experiences in which wine has played an important part: Shared times with friends, celebrations and anniversaries, vacations and events that I have experienced. Many of these occasions have been accompanied by the pleasure of the grape.
Additionally, I enjoy a glass of wine and I enjoy painting. What better than to combine these two pleasures. So - with wine in hand, a toast to wine, and its influence on our lives and culture. Cheers!