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Uploaded by : Chris Vroom | 11/29/09

Liquid Villa and Guccinam depict dreamlike states using a combination of architectural and abstract imagery. I refer to this work as "time-based painting," and employ a painterly sensibility and process to create images that transform over time.

Liquid Villa begins with a series of patterns in deep, aquatic tones overlaid with an intermittent glowing vertical stripe or ray. This imagery eventually disintegrates to a view across a pool of water in an imaginary villa. This structure is in turn subsumed by a pale fog. When the fog dissipates, the scene has been reconfigured back into an abstraction. The fog, the abstract imagery, and the architecture are protean, slowly mutating into one another or recombining to create a sense of instability and unease.

In creating this work the element of the glowing ray was an intuitive inclusion, and it began to take on characteristics that were for me part spiritual, painterly, and Hollywood sublime. The ray became a potential visual cue for philosophical concepts such as 'transformation from withiní or 'living in the present' or 'the eternal return.' Alternately, it could simulate a B-movie special effect designed to signify a phantom presence, or some sort of defense designed to protect the work from specific interpretation.

Guccinam isn't meant to evoke any issue directly related to the Vietnam War, nor is it meant to recall any actual place. My noticing some relatively vague traces of both martial and colonial aesthetics in contemporary design inspired the imagery in the piece. Examples range from the bamboo handles on expensive Gucci purses and silverware, to the battle-ready appearance of sport utility vehicles, to the camouflage gear sported by countless urban hipsters. I was also interested in making a piece that employed some of the same brightly tinted smoke and droning mechanical noise that are standard elements in Hollywood films that deal with the war in Vietnam. I particularly admired the painterly use of tinted smoke in Apocalypse Now. Guccinam is best understood as an attempt to build a hallucinatory location where a perceived strain in popular aesthetics is deliberately intensified.

Jeremy Blake
February 3, 2001

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