Over the past few years, my work has been focused on how symbolism can be generated in still life painting. I am not concerned with a traditional, prescribed symbolism that can be derived from ancient sources. Rather, I aim to highlight the relationship between an object’s perceived symbolism and its milieu.
I also endeavor to develop specific narratives in each painting. Interests in psychology, politics and history have all informed my work. I am deeply fascinated with the innate character flaws that often seem to impede human progress, both individually and collectively. A central theme in my work revolves around the persistent struggle between what Freud has labeled the id and the superego.
While I have specific narratives in mind for each of my images, it should be noted that an object or form almost always serves as a theme’s initial point of departure. Objects, when placed in proximity with each other, set the spark for a narrative, which once recognized, is then nurtured to fruition.
Titles are given great attention in my work and often go through a number of refinements before being paired with a painting. They are used to shepherd the viewers’ focus toward my intended narrative for each piece. I often use word play and humor in my titles. Doing so seems to provide an effective means of enhancing viewer interest in the work. With luck, viewer engagement grows into a more complete contemplation of a piece and its theme.
On the subject of titles, you will note that each has two distinct components. The first part refers directly to the narrative being presented. This is followed by a second title that offers only a “contextual inventory” of that painting’s contents. This second title is presented to remind the viewers that they are in fact, observing nothing more than a collection of objects. Any specific meaning that they might derive from those objects is due largely to the circumstances of that given scenario.
Gerry Perrino has taught drawing and painting at Salve Regina University since 1999. Mr. Perrino has exhibited widely over the past 30 years and his work is in numerous collections, both public and private.