These images are an attempt to wrest catharsis and understanding out of humanity’s common troubles. They are an attempt to reframe fates that seem inevitable and unchangeable, and they are an acknowledgement of the deep and sometimes profound moments of grace that can touch lives. Using life drawings as a departure for distilled compositions that have a parallel in Orthodox icons (and Jan Van Eyck); I do not imagine different lives for these melancholy figures so much as see them as tragic figures who echo the most basic and universal faults of people. Though grounded in figuration, I see this group of images as an internal map of grief that is couched in broader historical terms, but still very personal.
In short, I paint what I am striving to understand of others’ lives and of my place in such.
– Franklin Matthews