Kevin Cash, The Vanguard.

Acrylic gesso, cardboard
Dimensions vary

The first of these paintings were created in my studio apartment in Brighton, Massachusetts in 2010. At the time my two-hundred square foot apartment functioned both as my home as well as my art studio. The cost of living for this cramped urban dwelling was disproportionately high. I could not afford superfluous items such as art materials, let alone have the space to store them. My purchases were limited to household essentials such as toiletries and groceries. This is when I began imagining the packaging for these items as the “frames” for my paintings.

I took a subtractive and sustainable approach to painting instead of an additive one by recycling structures and concealing their imagery with gesso. Gesso is a white chalk based pigment commonly used in painting preparation to provide a ground on which pigments are applied. I built up the gesso in multiple layers, then sanded it back to remove any brush strokes, creating a pristine surface with an illusionistic depth.

This art process raised the following questions for me: What are the implications of being a painter in the United States— amidst the visual bombardment of advertising and ocular (as well as material) consumption? Does image-making only perpetuate this consumer culture? Furthermore, can this role be maintained under my current economic constraints? These questions are the foundation for a few more paintings.