Behind The Fence: Artist's Statement 4.30.07Behind the Fence

Behind the Fence

Figures in a space being looked at.

The impenetrable distance of the voyeur:

Who are these people and what are they doing? Is it a family reunion, a birthday barbeque, a farewell party? Is that chair for me? I hope they don’t notice that I’m watching them. But who leaves holes in a fence? I guess I was meant to watch them. I can almost make out what he’s saying. Are they talking about me? I wish I could get closer. Gee, this is awkward. 

A drama from which I am distanced. I am physically separated from the scene, emotionaly excluded from the subjects. I am a stranger, whether I know them or not. They are unattainable. I can never get past this fence; I can only participate vicariously. The gaze is my modus operandi; I can only watch and desire. Distanced by memory, observation, and self-consciousness: I watch the scene and then I watch myself watching. Experience becomes distorted by my most faithful attempt to chronicle it. Distanced by my awareness of a narrative’s manufacture and the inadequacy of language to communicate experience, I feel increasingly singular and isolated. Distanced through the medium of photography and again through paint. Even at one thousand words to the picture, a painting cannot approximate reality.

We are not looking at a real thing. We are looking at a completely artificial, immaculately crafted illusion. We can believe it, desire it, engage in its narrative as long as we like, but disbelief can only be suspended so long. It is as incomplete as any memory, as fictional as a memoir. So here’s a narrative painting for you to gaze at. Desire it, construct its drama, suspend your disbelief. Revel in the fetish of paint. The experience is as much yours as mine. Just look, as it become a memory.
The impenetrable distance of the viewer:

Pictures on a wall being looked at.


to contact me, email hstone (at)