My art centers on social interaction. The interaction and reaction of different communities highlights a prominent mode of thinking in the world: what is different is weird. This weird feeling transforms “other” communities disproportionally in the eyes of the beholder. Our eyes redefine them to whatever stereotype or personal projection has preceded the "other" individual. Some of the stereotypes I refer to conveys these other communities as exotic, ignorant, dirty, promiscuous, wild, etc. To capture this redefinition through a visual metaphor, the figures I paint defy anatomical accuracy, or they are deformed, their bodies are flat, or they will be the hybrid of an animal. These visual metaphors refers to stereotypes which could be wrongly presumed of the individual; they are also used as a vehicle to drive the idea that human beings are inherently flawed.
While the stereotype is largely false, in lies a truth. False stereotypes, stories, and flaws accumulate in a barrage, which tells truths through false representations. It gives the community power, wearing the stereotype en mass.
The massive scale of the paintings, and the prolific "hoard" of people in these communities place their individual stories on a hierarchy to the viewer. The figures depicted may be common, different, foreign, or simply flawed, but they are over-encompassing and overpowering. I hope to appropriately define community through these visual stereotypes.
In some of my paintings I use these aesthetic deliberations of iconography such as flatness, monochromatic, gold, or silver backgrounds, and disproportion, but using non-saints or non-religious figures at the pedestal. These paintings use the same visual metaphors to highlight stereotypes as I've mentioned, but in an iconographic setting. The purpose of this is to "rephrase" iconography by using the practice to idolize people instead of saints. By turning these flawed individuals into icons highlights the fact that the flaws which make us human are in fact glorious.
Copyright © 2014 Emily McPeek. All rights reserved.