Mementos of Past Loves

“Mementos of Past Loves,” Oil on Canvas

This painting is my idea of a wry visual joke, a parody of a cultural phenomenon.

Much of my work revolves around personal connections to people as represented by objects. Even when I am painting images of antique figures recovered from estate sales, I spend a great deal of time thinking about the people who owned them. We have many objects in our lives. Some we overlook constantly because they strike no chord in us. They are just part of the visual noise around us, be they a forgotten bottle of lotion on a shelf or a misguided Christmas gift. Or, they may hold a great deal of associations for us, either imagined, projected, or real.

I was inspired to make this painting by an episode of “Clean House.” You know, the show about hoarders completely overwhelmed by clutter but not too embarrassed to invite a TV crew in for a voyeuristic examination? At any rate, the wife still owned a teddy bear from an ex-boyfriend who won it for her at an amusement park. The TLC crew, who regularly go beyond the task of cleaning and redecorating to offer a good dose of family counseling, convinced her to get rid of the relationship baggage represented by the teddy bear, even though it was now in their child’s room. This was because the teddy bear still rankled the husband even after years of marriage.

So, if you don’t agree that this stuff carries real-life weight, remember the story of that couple.

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