Artist's Statement 

Painting has real possibilities when it successfully teaches us something about ourselves. I employ contemporary portraiture in order to activate realism in a manner that aims to teach the public about the authentic lives of all of us. Real people are the inspirational bedrock, predominantly underrated and overlooked. More than ever, routine affairs in society are largely underrepresented in pop culture and gravely dismissed as too commonplace to warrant intrigue or acclaim. My work is a conscious, artistic response to an epidemic, consumer obsession, preoccupied with sexually heightened generalizations and transfixed by hollow irrelevance. When appropriated with integrity and exercised with sincere intentions, figuration has the potential to deliver candid narratives, chronicling who we are, while concurrently enhancing the poetic subtleties present in all of our lives.

The people addressed in each of these works are paramount to how I discern the world around me. Portrayals are inspired by students, family, and friends, whom I consider to be critical; all of them have impacted my life in their own unique ways. However, each model is a vehicle that enables me to illustrate an understated narrative, with implications much greater than any single, isolated person. With a unique style and a studio practice galvanized by contemporary, figurative representation and Social Realism, my studio practice continues to cultivate imagery qualified to deliver unadulterated expositions of where I have been, and who I am. More importantly, this enduring body of work chiefly exposes detailed insights about who we are, as a whole. 

In addition to attaining insight from quintessential painters such as Eric Fischl, Lucian Freud, Robert Bechtle, Liu Xiaodong, and Alice Neel,
my preoccupation with meaningful portraiture fosters an affinity for other insightful resources that illuminate human interactions and social psychology. This American Life, a radio broadcast hosted by Ira Glass on National Public Radio, narrates honest, journalistic accounts, charged with sensitivity and introspection. Mark Leary’s series of lectures, Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior (2012), and Yuval Noah Harari’s book, Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind (2014), are other telling resources that have assisted my own creative commitment to explore and understand biological, social, and cultural issues that are ubiquitous and relevant today.

These works do more than merely record contemporary accounts of people whom I know. Each painting fuels an opportunity to consciously, engage with, and respond to, the immediate conditions and emotional circumstances of each model, in order to activate narratives and expose the human psyche. These painterly accounts aspire to do more than merely transcribe nuance and arbitrary detail; each series of works is an unwavering artistic pursuit aimed at teaching the public about the physical, psychological, cultural, and religious experiences of fellow human beings. I employ sensitive, honest, and unadulterated, artistic expressions, in order to illuminate muted experiences of real people. Above all, with each painting, I am committed to accomplishing this creative affair in a manner that is simultaneously compassionate, yet unfettered and honest.

Jeff Carter  

J. Carter ©  2020