more stars than in the heavens

not in our stars, but in ourselves

Suspicious of Rooms Without Music or Atmosphere: McDermott & McGough – FREAKING INCREDIBLE.

Today, in the course of my internetting (it’s a whole process, since there are so very many internets and netherwebs out there), I came upon an extraordinary set of paintings by McDermott & McGough: Suspicious of Rooms Without Music or Atmosphere.  They’re photorealistic paintings of scenes from classic Hollywood films (mostly, as far as I can tell, from the 1940s and 1950s).  As the press release from Cheim & Read puts it:

Several photo-realist paintings juxtapose carefully selected movie scenes in which a decisive moment is central. The paintings are generally composed of two separate “images” from different movies, one black-and-white and one color, allowing for new and alternate readings of existing narratives. Rendered on a two-dimensional surface, the scene’s original context is frozen, its meaning repositioned. While the female protagonist is often a recognizable actress (Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner, Lauren Bacall, etc.), McDermott and McGough deny the importance of this factor – they look instead for expressions which convey emotional impact. Scenes in which a choice must be made or has just been made are especially tension-filled, and the resulting paintings become emblematic of this internal drama. Within sumptuous, well-appointed rooms – “manufactured” by Hollywood and echoing the commercial artifice of our own lives – lone female figures are ensnared by the consequences of their decisions. An ashtray and empty bottle are symbolic of lost youth; a desolate train station is a metaphor for dashed dreams.

Here are a few – but go see the rest.  You will not be disappointed. (And if you’re in New York, for god’s sake, quit reading this and go see them in person!)


Looking over my yesterdays, 1967


unwillingly mine, 1967


no tomorrows, 1967


I know lonely nights, 1967



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This entry was posted on February 6, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , .
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