This work concentrates on the examination of common objects and how those objects represent ideas and present possible metaphoric implications. Often referred to as “ropography”; or a depiction of things which lack importance; these are the everyday objects of life the we we take for granted. The paintings stem from the personal possessions that I find curiously engaging. The work may result in objects contextually placed in a still life setting or more ambiguous spaces. Although, my primary concern is with the metaphors that these objects conjure up by themselves, I am aware that the simple juxtaposition of two or more objects present more complex meanings. Ultimately, I would like the viewer to draw their own conclusions.
Common Still life painting that was popular in the 17th century Dutch and Flemish often contained hidden allegories such as the Christian Passion, Resurrection or the transience of things in life. They were little paintings with big ideas. The paintings during this time that concerned themselves with life, death and transient events between were often referred to as “Vanitas” paintings. Not in the sense of vainness or conceit; “Vanitas” often a latin term used to describe a notion of evanescence of earthly possessions and the life linked to the work. The meanings in these paintings were conveyed by the use of objects, mostly familiar and everyday items and were given a symbolic connotation.
These paintings are similar in the sense that they isolate a particular object or group of objects containing a history of symbolic references. Within the body of my work; historical reference and symbolic references are typically ignored and the object is valued for purely personal reasons. The result often has an element of cognitive dissonance if not absurdity to the reasons behind it’s selection. I find the confusion intriguing.
As a whole, the work represents visual metaphors that emerge from the examination of common objects and how they relate to an “intimate” human condition. Mine. They are metaphors for identity, self-preservation, and mortality. The focus on insignificant objects often illustrates a significance to more grand ideas. That significance pertains to our addiction to possessions and our obsession with self-preservation. All of objects have personal and deep sentimental feelings attached to them. In the end, the works are painted notes to myself about objects that get fascinated with in my daily routines and the only way I can read the note is to paint it.
Pj Mills, 2019