JOHN MCGUIRE OLSEN

Artist Statement – Occupied

 

These paintings of interiors are based on photographs from bedding catalogs. In each, the colorful and often arch styling of the comforters, pillows, and accessories for sale extends to every aspect of the décor. The rooms are fantastical and banal collections of visual detail in support of a single idea. There are suggestions of warmth and personality, but the high degree of monomania precludes externals; a human being would seem strangely out of place in such a hermetic environment.


Transcribing the photographs into paint is time consuming, and allows for as much reflection and capriciousness as observation and planning. The result, ideally, is work both deadpan and physical, with traces of a back and forth between mechanical transcription and painterly embellishment visible on the flat surface of the substrate. This tension between system and improvisation runs parallel with the negated humanism of the original photographs; in both the paintings and the photographs I am interested in the space that exists between apparently contradictory elements.