The title of this oil painting was inspired not only by the image itself but also by a line of dialogue from a television series I am watching at the moment called The Handmaids Tale, about a totalitarian theocracy that has overthrown the United States government and starts the near complete subjugation of women.
In episode 3 a wicked bully, pretending to be a God fearing person, says these words before inflicting more brutality of our main character.
The words are from the New Testament, Matthew 18:9, although to my ear have an Old Testament ring to them,
"And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell."
This painting is inspired by the fear of the increasing blurring of lines between democracy and theocracy where the rights of women and other groups are becoming increasingly threatened by the self defeating nature of religious fundamentalism.
This is the ninth painting a series of paintings I have embarked on, called "Sinister Selfies"; a project of paintings which distorts the idea of selfies. Instead of being snapshots of rampant narcissism in various sunny or celebratory locations, they instead invite and allow the viewer into a world which implies darker human realities such as addiction, co-dependency, trauma, terror, abuse, disgust, self loathing, disintegration of self and dissociation.
All areas of human experience close to my heart, so to speak.
Instead of snapshots of mindless self idolatry these sinister selfies give us a peak into other's lives and their discordant emotions and psychology and also into our shared communally lives generally and more presciently.
They reveal the aspects of self and humanity we would rather hide away, the sometimes unpalatable, even disturbing reality behind the facade we maintain in public.
Essentially I use a icon of our time, the Smartphone selfie, to turn a our gaze onto so-called darker elements of the human condition, mainly using heightened vibrant colour, distorted imagery and odd sized canvas.
oil painting on linen canvas