Waiting Room employs formal lessons learned from Matisse about interior spaces, reverse lines, shifted perspectives and flat areas of colour to create an imaginary interior space. The characters that inhabit the space are combatants, static from boredom, or waiting for something apocalyptic to happen. Disrupted by the slightest hint of architectural space or the edges of things, lines switch between reverse and positive in order to confuse the logic between figure and ground. The characters are like sharks kept in tanks (sharks cannot pass by seams in a tank because each break in the surface stutters with an electrical pulse that sharks detect and are compelled to avoid).
The eight standing figures inhabit a three-sided interior space. The scene could be a studio set, a shark’s tank or maybe both. When I first graduated from film school, I did a summer internship in the studio camera department at Television House, London. Multiple interiors were set up in a huge, hanger-like space, each interior had only two or three sides that functioned as containers for fictional actions. The viewer’s perspective in Waiting Room echoes the way that the cameras were placed on the edge of the set looking in. The set and actions were recorded by multiple cameras whose depth of field was set grotesquely short in order to give the illusion of space between the characters in conversation - one in focus and the other blurred as if at a distance.
In Waiting Room a corridor leads from the back of the set toward a dark rectangle in the distance. It could be a door or an indication of a space beyond. On the left side of the corridor are eight more doorways, bathed in a toxic green light, these could be doorways to spaces beyond, or cubicles, one for each of the waiting guests. The figures are drawn quickly through wet paint; some are transparent and some solid, dark over light and light over dark. The figures interact with each other through the lines and inversions and with the architecture through the solid and dashed lines. In some of the solid forms, there are hints of human skeletal interiors as if seen through an x-ray. A small figure on the left has a pair of pants drawn over its naked arse. A central figure looks up through goggles and other figures wear various forms of headgear; helmets, caps or alternate heads. On the back wall is a window or perhaps a picture, in which five figures are seated with their backs to us.
In this work, the initial sketch was simply an armature to contain the visual shrapnel that made its way into the painting from multiple sources including: social experiences, political satire, dystopian sci-fi, cinema, institutions, popular culture, high art, science, paintings and antiquities.