|'City of Glass 20 - (Cage)' 90x60cms|
Stillman enters the cage formed by the grid of the streets where he walks - 'bounded on the north by 110th Street, on the south by 72nd Street, on the west by Riverside Park, and on the east by Amsterdam Avenue.' *
The cage also refers to Stillman's obsessions, the cage in his head. Perhaps my obsessions too, over 2 years of my life working on the series.......
A couple of crucial tweaks on Tuesday morning- a subtle vertical score down Stillman's back his back and blob of blue paint on Stillman's left shoulder to lock him more into the painting with the colour echoed in a the small square touching Central Park in the top panel. I have always been wary of my photo-realist roots, especially when painting the figure - the fallacy of the frozen moment. The introduction of figure of Stillman has presented me with problems, not least how not to make him giant when placed alongside the street grid of Manhattan. The answer has been to put him in an ambiguous space, a painting space that doesn't exist. He is standing on 72nd Street! His 'illusionist' interpretation and position in the painting are subverted by the physicality of the paint and the strong horizontal and subtle vertical that cut through his body. In this piece, the grid is also ambiguous- it's vertical, lifted from the background, an almost-delicate lattice you can put your hand through.... the bars of Stillman's cage.
* from 'The New York Trilogy' by Paul Auster