In this post I’d like to compare two very different examples of how an artist paints a space in comparison to the way I have for my recent work. The two painters I chose are Linden Frederick and David Salle.
Linden Frederick’s Tenant is almost photographic in the tranquil portrayal of a building that might exist anywhere in America. In a weird way, there’s no evidence that the subject matter even exists outside of its painted form. It sits outside of time and place, and outside of seeming ‘special’ because it is so mundane a subject. As in most of Frederick’s work the subject seems to exit everywhere and nowhere in the same space of thought. That aspect of his work is reminiscent of Marc Auge’s ‘non-places’.
David Salle’s Last Light uses elements painted as if collaged together. Although the individual pieces within the work are painted realistically enough that they are recognizable as objects, his combination of different color schemes, angles of view, and somewhat disjointed collections of people/objects remove a sense of place from his work. He doesn’t simply display a different type of non-place, but rather denies a sense of place ever existed in the realm of his work.
Although Salle’s work seems more contemporary and visually interesting, I prefer Frederick’s work in relation to the ideas of non-place I’m dealing with. Instead of distorting the visual until it seems to be without place, I’d rather embrace the placelessness that it already possesses and then amplify it.
*Two other works that would fit this similar comparison are Paul Winstanley’s TV Room V and Patrick Caulfield’s After Lunch.