Reality Check - Contemporary American Trompe L'Oeil
Persistence of Vision, 2008
Oil on canvas, 18 x 17 inches
Collection of the artist
Debra Teare's work follows the conventions of traditional trompe l'oeil in the use of the box or cabinet to display objects that protrude into the viewer's space. However, there are strong allusions to 20th-century modern art. In particular, her Persistence of Vision pays homage to Piet Mondrian in its color and abstract compositional arrangement of niches. The painting also references René Magritte in its combination of disparate objects, such as the floating light bulb and the pear.
The artist's remarks:
"Recurring themes or subjects that appear in my work"
"I love storytelling and constructing an imaginary history in paint. If I include man-made objects, such as a photograph or a book, I envision how that object was used, displayed, and possibly loved. I imagine a kind of wordless story. I occasionally start composing my paintings with an object such as a shell or a flower to add a sense of life. I also try to incorporate as many complementary textures and as much color as possible.
"Other times I start with a texture I love and begin to weave a feeling around that texture. In Must Move Forward, I spent considerable time arranging thirteen simple objects, beginning with the old card from a childhood game, to combine exact textures to weave an emotional tapestry. I often get inspiration visiting gardens or antique shops and frequently a specific object will trigger an idea for a composition. For Persistence of Vision I discovered the oversized light bulb and knew I had to use it in a painting. Objects that are old, like the light bulb, have a kind of memory that hovers around them. So I often begin a composition by imagining what other objects would exist in that same world.
"I have used the geometric innovations of Piet Mondrian as a point of departure in several pieces, and I enjoy taking his overtly two-dimensional compositions and propelling them into the real world by making them appear three dimensional. Dimensional verisimilitude is important in my painting, lending emotional authority, as are texture and color, which must harmonize and complement each other. Then the entire tableau must be lit correctly to amplify the emotional content. Emotion is the ultimate subject of my painting.
"I enjoy the discipline of trompe l'oeil and feel it is important to push the genre in new directions and prod my paintings toward a distinctively personal style. The enveloping box, the most reccurring theme in my work, isolates and focuses the composition. The box allows a deeper depth of field and becomes a metaphorical border into a unique world."
Copyright © 2010 Brandywine Conservancy.
Brandywine River Museum, U.S. Route 1, P.O. Box 141, Chadds Ford, PA 19317 | Phone: 610-388-2700
This site is for personal, educational, non-commercial use only and may not be reproduced in any form
without the express permission of the Brandywine Conservancy.