Fine Art

Michael J. Doherty

My paintings are a critical commentary on considering living things as decorative and consumable objects. The artwork explores the aesthetics of appealing subjects such as food, models and domestic animals and juxtaposes them to highlight the similar attitudes shown to each. Domesticated animals and models are often revered as fashionable subjects, images of them are consumed and distributed, similarly to food. My work seeks to revive traditional representational painting and ground it in contemporary art. On a broader level, it's about desire and creating a space where desirous subjects are the norm, a surrogate for desire that is otherwise lacking. “Tulpenmanie” refers to the period during the Dutch Golden Age when tulips became exorbitantly expensive and popular, before suddenly becoming unpopular. Representational painting has developed in much the same process – subject to the same vagaries of public and critical opinion. The artwork itself is conceived through photography, it is also a celebration of the aesthetics of the subjects and of traditional Dutch methods of oil painting, this is an attempt to engage the viewer with the themes and provide a visually rich experience. Conceptually, my work is in the same vein as painters such as Will Cotton, whose work creates an environment of abundance and sweetness to mirror American consumerist culture, an environment where every desire is fulfilled – a substitute for a strong want that's absent.

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Fine Art

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