“…the distinction between past, present, and future is only
a stubbornly persistent illusion." – Albert Einstein
I paint and draw images through direct observation, which makes me something of a voyeur to things that most people would not consider too interesting. We live in an age of extreme spectacle yet in common view, mundane reality offers tremendous opportunity for knowledge. There are layers upon layers of visual perception, and to move through them by a long meditative process of visual awareness – removing the filters and lenses of our own mental trickery – leads us to greater understanding of the true nature of things.
I am persistently drawn to subjects and locations that embody the past, either through their intrinsic connection with history, or by some connection to human activity and technology related to my location, family and professional experience. In the past, I have been privileged to live and work in diverse locations and cultures, mostly in Europe, Africa and various places in North America. Recently this work has evolved from inquiry into the present state of decline of the textile industry in the upstate region of South Carolina, much along the lines of the photographic work in “American Ruins” by Camilo Jose Vergara, where large factory buildings, once inhabited by thousands of people working day by day and living their lives in this industry are now ghostly vacant sites, surrounded by and littered with falling debris; artifacts of human servitude to industrial production. I have combined the found objects at these locations with my observational study through painting and drawing to create “bricolage realism”.
Many see this art as an act of nostalgia (once considered a mental disorder), but I sense something other than a longing for an idealized (and hence unreal) past. My work in the realist genre of painting, and my preference for a direct observational method, constantly positions me in the un-idealized present; a place where time, wind, rain and sun peels the paint, breaks the glass, decays the wood and rusts the metallic elements of human artifice. For me, this evidence of the enduring forces and energies of nature and time are comforting. Some have said that reality is an illusion. I do not believe this. Rather I am humbled by the thought that human perception and consciousness are illusions; reality (and nature) would do just fine without us. We ought to remember that, and I guess in some small way I hope my artwork serves as reminder.
David Scott McCurry