F. Scott Hess, ‘A Blight of Ancestors’, 2009, Koplin Del Rio

In the artist's words - "A Blight of Ancestors":

"This is a view of my studio wall. My tiny work space is packed with objects from my Paternal Suit project. The title refers to my recently discovered paternal lines, stretching back to the 1460s in England, and through one dubious line, 2000 years to the Roman Empire. In America, these paternal ancestors date from 1634, landing in Dorchester, MA. None of these fine fellows was without their flaws, but I’m the product of their perseverance, warts and all.

The center death mask and foremost marionette is of Senator Alfred Iverson, my great, great, great grandfather. A fire-eating Georgia politician, he is one of the Southerners responsible for starting the Civil War. He debated Lincoln, the other marionette, when they were both congressmen in 1848. Iverson’s son, Brigadier General Alfred Iverson, was one of the men who helped lose the war for the south. The bugle, horse bridle, and article, upper right, refer to him, and the loss of his brigade at Gettysburg. The can of tennis balls are related to my grandfather and father, both tennis pros."

About F. Scott Hess

F. Scott Hess has been described as a “New Old Master”. His narrative portraiture blends realistic scenes of everyday life with symbolic and allegorical events, humor, eroticism, and voyeurism. He begins with drawings and careful diagramming on his canvases before adding traditional oil paint or egg tempera. Hess’s works are defined by his strong brushwork, careful attention to the luminosity of flesh, and ability to capture ethereal light. Some of his paintings are reimaginings of the works of canonical masters, such as Diego Velázquez and Jean-Antoine Watteau. Recently he has begun to examine the new possibilities that technology has opened up for his art-making practice. “Over the summer of 2013 I focused on three paintings where my subject matter derived from screwed-up iPhone panorama photographs,” he explains. “The way the panorama mode stitches together a scene is akin to the way human vision actually works. Movement engages the viewer at a preconscious level, eliciting an empathetic response before language can intercede.”

American, b. 1955, Baltimore, Maryland, based in Los Angeles, California

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