I was very captivated by these small paintings by the artist R. Weber. All of which are expertly rendered in a classic old world style but their subjects are not historical figures like baskets of fruits, idyllic landscapes or battle scenes. Instead, they‘re images of Popper Bottles, Viagra, Botox and Cannabis. So, my curiosity was peaked and I had to find out more and track down the artist who now lives part time in New York City.
Black Boot: Your paintings are fantastic! Why do you choose this subject matter?
Weber: I never paint just for paintings sake, or for sheer beauty. There is always a hidden meaning behind the subjects that I choose to paint. But in this series maybe not so hidden, haha. For these paintings, I am drawing the viewer‘s attention to objects, that within a sub-culture, would immediately be read as ‘Vice’ or „poisonous“.
Black Boot: Can you explain the contrast of the old world techniques and materials that you use as it relates to or contradicts the subject?
Weber: My work comes out of the tradition of academic painting and observational realism, the immediacy of responding to a subject through observation and translating that experience through painting. Dutch Still Life paintings have always been an interest of mine, themes of Memento Mori, Vanitas, delicate paintings of flowers with moths and skulls, rotten fruit, suggesting the transience of life, futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death. Even the panels and the paints that I use come from an art supplier in Florence, Italy whose origins date back to the mid 15th century. As for this subject matter, a french chemist synthesised Amyl Nitrate in 1884, Oxycodone was first produced in Germany in 1916 and Viagra was compounded more recently by chemists in the U.K. What better style than in an older European mode to paint these objects of Vice, the fleeting nature of pleasure?
I have to ask, did you try these substances as a part of the experience?
Of course yes, all of them. I wanted a direct relationship with the subject, as each painting symbolises a specific moment, a memory, a lover, an elevated state of consciousness.
What do you have planned next?
A few years ago I found this great old piece of barbed wire, a reminder of war, borders, and the passage of time. Recently I just added some great pieces to my collection, so I think that its time to take a little closer look at them.
Looking forward to taking a look at these too!
More of the artists works and words can be found at his website: www.rweberstudio.com
Black Boot for Boner Magazine
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