DOOBY TOMKINS

ARTIST's statement-

“The continued unfolding of our epoch has merely confirmed and further illustrated the theory of the spectacle.”

Guy Debord: The Society of the Spectacle

There exists in society today a consistent outwitting and outflanking system known as the “spectacle”, an entity made up of the conglomeration of advertising and corporate marketing which was first identified and named in 1967 by the French philosopher Guy Debord. The spectacle is in place mainly within capitalist societies in which mass media and corporate ideology and imagery from advertising and television have become prolific and unstoppable due to advancements in society, which have aided in the dissemination of these images such as the television and the internet. Historically, although people continue have struggled against this system and rebelled against the spectacle’s omnipresence they are continually out-paced by the spectacle’s innovations in advertising and finding new ways to reach and attract people. As a painter I must contemplate rebelling against the spectacle simply through my process of slowing down images from the spectacle, demanding that they be seen as important through their transformation into painting. While I believe the spectacle can neither be accepted nor rejected, it must be acknowledged due simply to its overwhelming affect on a new generation of consumers and youth in the world. Through the process of painting and the recognition of the spectacle I am also simply feeding back into the spectacle due to the fact that any art made today is now mechanically reproducible and can be used to fuel the spectacle through advertisements, television, etc, making the spectacle’s domination of capitalist society inevitable.
My methodology for selecting this imagery is derived from the massive technical varieties of media the spectacle absorbs, including images of architecture, popular culture, appropriated art, coloration and diagrams. The large scale of the paintings is an attempt to envelope the viewer within the field of the canvas forcing them to interpret my imagery at a close and personal level, filtering through the imagery which we encounter every day both as a society and as individuals. Using advertising, pop-culture iconography, and Modernist art historical references, the viewer’s brain acts as a sort of “storage house” or ever-expanding super-library for these images and ideas. My interest in the spectacle lies in my contention that humanity is made up of a series of connections from these mass media images, and through their use I am making the spectacle known. With the juxtaposition of images according to surroundings, such as when they are first encountered, or in what environment they are encountered, the differences in humanity and what society views as individuals are created. Through the examination of my “storage house” or “super-library” of images I utilize specific images that are of interest to me. The juxtaposition of dissimilar imagery acts to illicit individualized responses from the viewer without imposing a predetermined system of moral or ethical regulations to restrict the combinations of imagery. The stylization of appropriated images acts to establish ownership and develop a sense of cohesiveness within the paintings. This in turn creates a sort of systematic but continually shuffling method of classification for these media.

“It is up to all of us to find new energy in the familiar.”
Robert Rauschenberg

-William R. Tomkins Jr.

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