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Tristan Pigott’s oil-on-linen portraits are not the cracked Renaissance-era faces in burgundy and brown that line fine art museums’ dustiest corridors. They are bright windows offering views into an apartment building of life today.
British-born, 25-year-old Pigott is aware of the new meaning he gives to his medium, acknowledging that his paintings “playfully mock the importance we place on image and perception.” Pigott redefines oil painting subject matter, depicting absent-minded masturbation and lazy morning boredom, and alters the way the paint is used. He mixes abstraction and realism in the same piece (in “Waiting Room,” 2014, the figure holding an iPhone is more abstractly painted, while the figure holding a young swan borders on photorealism) and literally portrays the figurative (the glassy blue and green eyes of drunken figures point in different directions).
Not sitters for Pigott, his figures are caught in moments of vulnerability, immediacy, intimacy; the same moments we might capture of our friends or of ourselves from outside the body. We are drawn to these people and the hints at unknown narratives. It is like our strange ability to pass hours clicking through pictures and information of distant but intriguing acquaintances who we will never meet in person.
All artwork by Tristan Pigott.
Text by GRETA RAINBOW