Employing pop-cultural and cinematic themes—from seduction and love to art and politics—the artist John Abrams translates screen-based media into the language of painting, recreating iconic scenes from preexisting, captured narratives on canvas. In his series Painting Hitchcock, for instance, Abrams excerpts psychologically gripping scenes from a variety of the master of suspense's films while overlaying the surfaces with paint smudging, splattering, speckled dots, or odd, playful designs and shapes. Likewise, in Screen Grab, Abrams draws from international film and video, confronting the relationship between digital images and painting.
"Film acts as a shortcut to reality," the artist says. "My work seeks to slow down this process, to force the viewer to regard film not as simulacra of reality that moves at the same speed as real time, but as a series of individual, small moments, a chain of stills."
Abrams has had solo exhibitions at Paul Petro Contemporary Art, A Space Windows, Accolade West Gallery, and the Toronto Alternative Art Fair International, and other venues. His work has also been featured in group shows at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and the McMaster Museum of Art.
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