Artwork > Masterwork Reinterpretations

biomorphic geometric colorful abstract landscape lines painting
Laocoon (After El Greco)
Oil on canvas
36"x54"
2012

Several years ago, I began to create abstracted, biomorphic reinterpretations of masterworks. El Greco’s Laocoön is a painting I use as an example of cool flesh tones in my beginning painting course. As I revisited it in my presentation semester after semester, I realized I had an affinity for the work because of the struggle evident in the human figures. While this struggle is clearly related to the Laocoön narrative, it also is a metaphor for the internal struggle that all humans experience. I started to think of my understanding of Laocoön as a relationship with the work of art. This prompted me to consider the way a masterwork reinterpretation could itself create a new relationship with the original, for both myself and for viewers. While constructing the abstract interpretation, I noticed an area opening up in the landscape that seemed to beg for the figures from the original to nest within. I reinserted the writhing figures from El Greco’s painting. While doing so, I imagined a scenario in which someone in a different time and place, experiencing a relationship to my painting, could respond with a reinterpretation that included aspects of El Greco’s original Laocoön. My approach to the reinterpretations encourages a non-linear way of thinking about paintings in art history, contemporary paintings, and paintings yet to be made, as visual and conceptual comparisons are made fluidly throughout time.