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Pig(m)alien - Print
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Pig(m)alien Print

Thomas Brodhead

United States

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About The Artwork

Objectum Sexuality—in which an individual develops romantic feelings for inanimate objects—is no longer a hush-hush topic quarantined to water cooler talk at the office, but instead has become the subject of televised infotainment programs for the masses. Certain humans (self-identified as "OS") have come out of the toolbox and admitted that they have more than abstract feelings for concrete objects, developing deep-seated and intimate relationships with bridges, warehouses, carnival rides, and even the Eiffel Tower (which one OS person has now married, much to the chagrin of the French Parks and Recreation Service). After viewing one such program, the artist pondered Ovid's Metamorphoses, in one of whose stories a Cypriot becomes smitten with and eventually impregnates an ivory statue of his own creation. Here the myth receives a modern treatment: The continued devolution of mankind into barnyard animals is combined with the seemingly-insatiable western desire for further bodily perfection, something that is arguably only possible by means of admixture with space alien DNA. The viewer is left to question whether the largely androgynous Porcine-stein has truly functional sexual apertures, and whether it would be a pleasant experience for a male to insert his insemination device into such a fertilization chamber. Perhaps a useful painting for explaining human reproduction to tender young minds, this work would befit either a progressive kindergarten or the waiting room in a fertility clinic. (c) 2013 Thomas M. Brodhead

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Print:Giclee on Fine Art Paper

Size:9 W x 12 H x 0.1 D in

Frame:White

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Delivery Time:Typically 5-7 business days for domestic shipments, 10-14 business days for international shipments.

A native of St. Louis who’s lived in middle Tennessee most of his life, Thomas Brodhead studied classical music theory, history, and composition at Oberlin in the 1980s. During those years, he pored over classical scores while studying orchestral and chamber works, unaware that he was absorbing geometric graphic design that’s been in his blood ever since. After college, he worked as a classical sheet music editor and engraver (music typesetter) for 20 years, writing original computer programs to set music notation so that it conformed to the best Greek proportions and geometries. (Importantly, he produced a Critical Performing Edition of the Fourth Symphony of Charles Ives, a work so rhythmically complex that it requires at least two—if not three—conductors to perform.) But arranging black glyphs on white paper grew tiresome, and starting in 2009, he turned to color and began to paint. At first, his paintings were cartoonish and comical, always paired with tongue-in-cheek artist statements on the meaning of each piece. Over time, though, he began to take his work more seriously, exploring color and geometry on large canvases (up to 4 feet by 3 feet), but never failing to pen an accompanying whimsical statement. But more and more the whimsy veiled serious social commentary, often on the dangers of transhumanism (the integration of humans and technology) and the infantilizing effects of social media. Painting and writing thus combined in a Wagnerian Gesamtkunswerk, in which the combination of the two formed the total artwork. He joked that his early humorous style—cartoonish and splattery, with an emphasis on narrative—was “on an overlooked axis connecting Jackson Pollock and Norman Rockwell.” But after studying the color theory of Albert Munsell and discovering the joyous geometries of the artist Stuart Davis, his work took a sharp turn. Still working on larger canvases, he began planning each work in detail, defining the exact composition of its figures and determining its color scheme in advance. The execution of the paintings took longer and longer, one even clocking in at 160 hours. Borrowing a technique from 20th century classical music—and a technique perhaps never before applied to visual art—he produced a series of fractalized paintings that, at times, have a dizzying paint-by-numbers quality.

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