My paintings are heavily influenced by Catholic iconography from the Baroque period, specifically the sculptural work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Bernini used techniques of exaggeration in the folds in robes, body structure and cloud formations to express an abstract form of 'spiritual energy'. But in contrast to their subjects stoic origins the aesthetic of Bernini's work manifests as lustful and extremely materialistic, and within the theatrical architecture of the cathedral or church (the expressive Baroque style has part of its genesis in opera), acts more as a form of psychological escapism than that of a form through which religious truth can be revealed. Religion constructed as a Baudrillardian hyper-reality in which intensified or peak-shifted models of reality seem 'more real than real' and the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred.
But, what seems at first to be a form of escapism from the 'Desert of the Real' can also act as a stimulus to wake us up to reality. Just as the Zen master hits his student and as a result the student attains his enlightenment, a jolt in the senses via an intensified version of reality can allow us to see how intensely real and visceral our direct physical relationship with our world really is.