"I Cannot Tell a Lie "
Dec 18, 2008 - Jan 17, 2009
All paintings in “I Cannot Tell a Lie” are portraits of George Washington. On vibrantly colored silkscreen backgrounds, Innes paints black silhouette images of America’s first president. These elegant and noble political contours find their inspiration in statues, paintings and stories that are part of the collective American consciousness, images that reflect this nation’s sense of itself. These paintings examine the myths around George Washington that help shape the understanding the US has about its own moral identity.
Each painting is a poetic juxtaposition of political images. The background patterns are created using imagery derived from contemporary political issues. These patterns are executed in silkscreen inks on paper then fused to canvas, creating a formal repeating pattern that is reminiscent of vintage wallpaper. Hidden in the pattern of the background are images that reveal themselves upon second glance. These patterns are created from current media images that when repeated conceal themselves within the larger pattern they create. The viewer, with closer examination, will see an orange Lindy England of Abu grab fame popping off a primary yellow background, or intersecting aircraft over-printed by the seal of the United States, all in shades of brilliant cyan blue. These vibrant patterns form the background upon which sit the portraits of George Washington. This fusion of historical and contemporary evoke a tension and a dialogue that resonate with the current geopolitical issues we are dealing with as a society.
These new works mark a stylistic departure for the artist. Innes moved to NYC from Toronto in 2005. This change of cities and countries has had a transformative effect on his work. The challenge of being an “alien resident artist” has shaped how Innes expresses himself as a visual artist. These paintings are his contribution to the ongoing discussion that shapes this strong and powerful nation.
Grant Innes is a graduate of Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) with a BFA in Cinema. In the early 90’s Innes evolved his work as visual artist to that of a painter after being frustrated with a lack of personal expression in his work in the commercial film and television businesses. Essentially, self-taught as painter, Innes has had numerous solo shows in Canada and the US in the last 15 years. His paintings can are in private and public collections all over the world.