ART: Brendan Flanagan’s Acrylic Genesis

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When you think Brendan Flanagan what comes to mind? Zombies? A night that you would typically blame on the a-a-alcohol? Joan Rivers? Or a weird composite of the three?

If the sexually wry thought of a naked (and melting) Joan Rivers was not disturbing enough, then allow me to further push the boundaries of your subconscious. I would like to tell you the legend of Flanagan’s genesis (I was hoping to use the word surrection, here, but it is not a word).

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Flanagan is the unlikely offspring of Jackson Pollock and William-Adolphe Bouguereau. I say unlikely because the genetic and chronometric chips were stacked against such a union. You see, Bouguereau died in 1905, and his reproductive mate, Pollock, was born in 1912. Though the movie Ghost sheds some light on this scenario, their union is still mired in obscurity. Complicating our riddle even further is the fact that they are both anatomically male (if only Ghost was a love story about two Patrick Swayzes, then maybe I could piece this puzzle together). Ultimately, the biological account for Flanagan’s emergence is unknowable (Swayze, as most know, passed away some time ago, which makes a sequel to Ghost difficult. Ultimately, however, resurrecting the Swayz would be easier than resurrecting Whoopi Goldberg’s career).

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When looking at Flanagan’s work, it is easy to see his pedigree. Simply, Flanagan’s art proves to be a confluence of the Bouguereau-esque and the Pollockian. Flanagan’s emphasis on the female form and his attention to detail is unmistakably Bouguereau, while his manipulation of application and effect is unquestionably Pollock.

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Unfortunately, the effect of Flanagan’s work is lessened in this digital format. You cannot observe the subtitles of their impasto texturing, which he achieves using ketchup squirt bottles (no kidding). Also, you lose the effect of their sheer size, as some exceed six feet in length. Regardless, his distortion of the commonplace speaks for itself. The ambiguous, melting mass that is the every man and woman is disturbing—zombie-esque.

So, I ask this of you, fearless and faithful reader, what commentary is Flanagan making when his acrylic society renders its inhabitants featureless/zombie-like?

If I left you with any undisturbed imagination, proceed to http://www.brendanflanagan.ca/paintings.html at your own risk.

Yrs.,

Scott Warfe

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