Filed under: Q&A | Tags: Chris Hagerty, Evan J. Garza, Middle East, Q&A, war
Mall and Explosion, 2010 | Oil on canvas, 30 x 20 inches
Featured in edition #86 of New American Paintings, Chris Hagerty reveals an intense duality in each work he creates: unyielding and radiant color and the earth-toned, inescapable terror of war scenes from Iraq and Afghanistan. At odds in both palette and subject matter, Hagerty’s paintings are as intense as they are eerily humorous. We caught up with the Brooklyn-based artist this week to catch up and talk about his work. —Evan J. Garza
EJG: In your work you conflate war scenes with shopping mall architectural layouts. How did you arrive at this combination?
I started making paintings of shopping mall architecture as a type of meditative response to the shared environment that people place themselves in. The commercial interiors are an environment that I ‘keyed up’ to a type of unreal space, much like landscape paintings of the past based on actual locations could become fantastic and unrealistic through the depiction by the artist. The photographs of war began to appear just like another field of color in the environment. The synthesis of these photos with those of the shopping mall images felt like a natural combination of two related elements. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan is figuratively in the background of our minds as Americans while it is literally in the background of the paintings.
Garden Of Babylon (double JDAM), 2010 | Oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches