Anthony F. Vega

Artist’s Statement

I am fascinated with how we translate images.  How we latch onto them for such short periods of time and think of them as a type of currency or record of living. I often think about how pictures in our current internet age really mean anything, when their identity is suspicious, their use out of control yet fleeting, and their sharing at times hollow and often misleading? As someone who makes paintings, I wonder do they and their inability to compete in a digital landscape, by being made of static material, and viewed most accurately by physical experience, begin to offer a new type of stability or at least vantage point to openly reconstruct a type of placement, a grounded location?

My work explores my relationship to fluidity of culture and identity, social interpretation, and how we apply meaning personally and irrationally through pictures and media. I paint things or copy ideas that I find in social media, that I like, find important or sometimes find funny. I translate, highly edit digitally, and try to copy and re-solidify these pictures through material and present them in the hope to construct something that we want to look at and think about.

I intend to have my work be attractive, yet subtly subvert. Viewing the medium of painting may allow for the exploration of the nature of image as overtly influenced abstraction, but I make no assumption that I can control this exploration, given our contemporary relationship to images (speed, access, editing, sharing) or that it can do anything other than offer a soft invitation to question our world. The history and nature of painting, as a clearly outdated yet emotionally and socially wrought interface seems to fit quite well as a medium to deal with our contemporary ubiquitous image making. Painting can operate at once as something so familiar that it feels safe and as an attraction to something new. The act of painting, my analogue decisions, and subtle mistakes, as well as the use of readable and unrecognizable images cause a shift in message or experience. We perhaps feel slightly less safe. A tension is found between interpretation and medium through active or passive translation of a surface or image. We are located, if only for a moment, by our ability to identify and question.

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