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Burning Down the House
About this Artwork
The title was chosen in reference to a song bearing the same name by one of my favourite new wave bands, the Talking Heads.*
Upon listening to it time and again over the last months (and while making this piece), I kept thinking about the lyrics in how they seemed to resonate with me in a certain way, as if they talked about the challenges and hurdles of being a full-time artist, the insane amount of pressure felt trying to live from our art, of “burning down” a decent career to avoid “bursting into flames”, “listening to ourselves” and “jumping overboard” in a leap of faith to follow our dreams in the hope that we “might get what we’re after…”
Unbeknownst to me at that time, the band’s lead-singer and guitarist David Byrne had once declared in an interview that the lyrics as were in fact completely meaningless, written by first throwing and making nonsense syllables over the music only to fit with the rhythm and the phrasing. In that perspective, one could qualify the text of the song as a form of abstraction, since without direct meaning or representational of any reality!
And so, a parallel can be drawn here with both the song and this piece: with the propensity of the mind to fill in the blanks when confronted to abstract art, each and everyone “sees” something slightly different, interpreting the piece by drawing from their own personal experience as an attempt to find a sort of familiar ground to relate and base itself into.
* Burning Down the House became the Talking Heads’ highest charting hit in North America; it was released in 1983 as the first single of their fifth album, Speaking in Tongues.
The lyrics can be found here: Burning Down The House by Talking Heads
Second large format piece of a new series. This artwork explores furthermore the vertically textured style I discovered and developed over the last two years.
The piece's unique texture is made with a painting knife, by first adding multiple heavy layers of oil paint of variable thickness, then repeatedly sculpting the paint on the canvas by tearing up the top layer in a controlled manner to recreate a pattern similar to endless series of small vertical slats.
This pattern causes a lenticular screen effect which focuses all reflected light to the front of the artwork and towards the viewer, increasing the painting's brightness and glow, while also giving it a surprisingly irresistible tactile quality that appeals to all senses.
This same lenticular effect makes the artwork change its overall aspect depending on the viewing angle, with the composition morphing and presenting different versions of itself when viewed at various points, angles and distances.