NICK SHEPARD /De bekende wereld

De bekende wereld

Some thoughts: every day we encounter some odd delight and think little of it. Take a bouquet of artificial flowers, which offers a viable alternative to the real thing—it won’t wilt, nor does it require water—but this ever-colorful replacement lacks the aura of the short- lived original. We look at a flower, either plastic or organic, and think “flower;” we don’t think much of how all our stuff gets made. And like a fake flower, a photograph is an ever- colorful and desirable alternative to the real thing.

We have grown so accustomed to oddities like this, that we now routinely overlook them. Rather than attempt resolution, I seek to explore, bit by bit, those processes, spaces, and objects that create the sometimes hilariously jumbled pastiche that we experience daily.

Because this stuff would be irrelevant without people to give it value and meaning, portraits play an important role in my work. The figures are individuals but they are also embodiments of their larger cultural context. In the gallery, they look across at each other and at the objects that surround them. They look at you, and ask you to look as well.

De bekende wereld is the known world, made slightly unfamiliar. Visual beauty, emotional directness, light effects, and naturalism evoke the Dutch masters, not to look back, but to look at contemporary life in America. The images reframe the familiar range and complexity of our ‘everyday’, and reconsider the world we know.