On the precipice of the global financial crisis with stock fluctuations revealing cracks in the patina of monetary success it’s a good time to examine (and critique) the trappings of bourgeoisie malaise. As we lament the absence of success and prepare for hard times ahead artists whose work captures the hollow side of affluence become increasingly relevant. Their creations serve to remind us that money while sustaining and necessary is not a direct path to happiness – a fact that is equal parts comforting and chilling as the Dow dips into unfathomable territory.
Terry Rodgers is known for capturing the boredom behind Hollywood hedonism. His grand scale paintings of crowded parties filled with sex, drugs and ennui display a world of detached pleasures – everyone is beautiful and damned. His subjects appear to have it all but they’re disconnected from each other and the high gloss scene they’re a part of. Every so often a familiar face like that of celebutante Paris Hilton or fashion fixture Doutzen Kroes, appears to remind us of just how exclusive such gatherings can be.
While his nightlife portraits portray a world foreign to most viewers his pictures of sullen suburban children in empty mini-mansions are all too familiar. Lonely Halloweens, vacant summer vacations and busy break rooms are all present themes. These earlier works are especially evocative for those who have lived out the scenes represented but regardless of whether or not ones connection to such imagery is personal, the overwhelming disquietude of Rodgers’ visuals is completely in line with the current cultural anxiety.