Bear Lake, Oil on Panel, 24" x 18" 2013
Colorful Colorado, Oil on Panel, 18" x 24" 2013
Weminuche,Oil on Panel, 36" x 48" 2013
In my paintings, I attempt to turn these strategies on their heads, utilizing realism for a much different goal. By constructing miniature dioramas of western landscape out of cardboard and then meticulously rendering the minute details in oil paint I aim to subtly subvert the hallmarks of this genre. By detailing even the creases and corrugation of the cardboard, I instead highlight the fabricated nature of these culturally constructed images, calling their ‘authenticity’ into question.
In addition, I employ the language of dioramas as a metaphor for our perception of the utopian western landscape. The idea of a diorama captures the essence of the divide between the imagined West and the actual West. Much like the grand picturesque landscape, a diorama was designed not to actually deceive the viewer so much as to offer a compelling substitute for the real world. With the mythological West, a certain degree of editing and omission occurs in order to portray a specific romanticized perspective, similarly, the diorama, too, shows a preference for the idealized image over a practical reality. My dioramas do not attempt to create a seamless illusion, rather they emphasize and expose the artifice of the image, challenging the viewers perceptions about the West.