One day, I discovered one of my favorite paintings in the history of Western painting at the Seattle Art Museum. It was a painting by Lucien Freud entitled “Leigh Bowery Seated.” The impact of encountering this intensely rich luscious painting of a huge naked man was certainly intensified by its chronological placement in the midst of these vacuous paper thin wisps of art that surrounded it. It blew me away.
Since then I have done my own versions of paintings inspired by this and other pieces by Freud. But before I even saw this piece of Leigh Bowery I had painted “Mark’s Back With Red Square.” Almost from the day I saw the Freud there in the Seattle Art Museum I felt like my painting of Mark was like an archeological missing link. Here was a painting that bridged the enormous gap between all those post modern conceptualists and even the abstract expressionist with the full blown iconoclastic return to unabashed figural realism of Freud and a host of others that were already coming out of the woodwork everywhere.
Many Art world critics and taste makers were saying for those years when I was coming of age as an artist that painting was dead. Well, Freud and lots of others with clout I didn’t have proved them utterly wrong. But in the meantime I was sweating it out in obscurity trying to find my way to some fresh new ground while laying tracks and even building a bridge for anybody interested enough to follow. This painting was that bridge.