Everybody's had a crack at this one...
You see in art you don't rip anyone off, it's not called stealing or plagiarism. Oh no no, it's a lineage of references, participating in ones culture. Just whack the word "After" after the title and it's all okay.
So in the spirit of such an artistic tradition this work draws on some references.
The large background figures are Ronald Reagan on the left and Muammar al-Gaddafi to the right. Not great friends at the best of times.
The Good Samaritan reference is an-oldie-but-a-goodie. Various artists, much better intentioned artists than me I might add, have fiddled with the Samaritan: Domenico Feti, Vincent Van Gogh and Eugene Delacroix all had a go.
I suspect Delacroix used a mirror to rip off Feti. Vincent changed the colour, ever so gloriously and flipped the image back the other way again. The more I look at it though I think Vincent was the one with the mirror. Me, I worked from the Van Gogh painting.
I'm actually not that interested in the Good Samaritan parable and all that, it's more the idea of pricks like Reagan or Gaddafi and their more recent incarnations like Bush who think they can continue to screw people left, right and centre and expect that there will be no consequences later on. What if we had spent the billions of dollars the Iraq war has cost on education, health, international relations and the like? Would we be up to our eyeballs in the same shit we find ourselves in now?
That aside, I quite liked this work. It had many layers of glaze applied over initially quite bright oil paint. It sold to someone at an exhibition many years ago. It was painted when I was living at Balmain and is on the wall in the dinner scene from the film Strings that was shot at home.
Actually that comment about ripping other artists off is not realy true. The cross-references are what make it all the more meaningful. I guess if your work gets called called empty and derivative by a respected art critic you may want to re-examine your motivations.
Published: 4 December 2006