not in our stars, but in ourselves
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!)