Tangles are paintings of outlined, layered and intersecting people, forming a frenzied labyrinth of lines and vibrant colors. Upon closer inspection, the people are actually celebrities tangled together, some instantly recognizable, others less so. There is no focal point, so all figures compete for attention. The deliberate palette creates bracing color interactions and makes some figures recede while others surge to the forefront. The viewer’s proximity to the work creates different effects. Up close, it’s possible to distinguish individuals, but at a distance they appear to dissolve into abstract expressionism. The organic lines beg to be followed, but form an impossible maze; combined with the ambiguous figure-ground, a tension forms that is both chaotic and compelling.

A similar tension is triggered by watching Entertainment Tonight, The Insider and Access Hollywood all in one night, or by reading tabloids cover to cover. My thoughts are awash with the fabulous and minute details of celebrities’ lives. With no chance of interaction, I’m left to judge people I don’t personally know: intrigued by some, disgusted by others, alternating between superiority and jealousy. I feel guilty that I’m entertained by the triumphs and struggles of these opulent strangers, that I’m helping perpetuate their own narcissism, for wasting my time and energy thinking about them at all. Far from celebrity worship, Tangles question the codependent relationships between the viewer, entertainers and the tabloid news industry.

All are acrylic on canvas, various sizes.

Click to enlarge thumbnails.