Jason Seeley (b. 1983), Backpack, 2013; acrylic on canvas, 36 ¼ x 30 ¼ x 1 ½ inches; Purchased, 2015
This painting was exhibited in Jason Seeley: Piles at Hallwalls May 17-July 12, 2013. See the Web site for more details. http://www.hallwalls.org/visual/5290.html In the exhibition brochure, Visual Arts Curator John Massier wrote the following essay, “Life of Piles”:
In the work of Buffalo artist Jason Seeley, figurative forms are the predominant imagery. They are astutely rendered in a photo-realist style, but they evade conventional figurative allusions through a unique and isolated treatment and, often, an oddity to the form and presentation of the figures. Highly personalized, they are also generalized into more universal symbols that are readily and immediately recognizable to anyone who has a family, a partner, children, or siblings.
In two new paintings, various family members are piled atop each other, a humorous depiction of the loving crush of responsibility. Seeley effectively obscures the position of limbs, without any fakery or exaggeration, such that the family melts into a single hybrid organism, weighted down by itself but gamely inching forward. At first glance, one might think, well yes, that’s what kids feel like, all piled on top of you with their needs. However, closer examination reveals that in both paintings, it is one of Seeley’s sons who is on the bottom of the family mosh pit. He very subtly introduces the potent idea that children are not a burden, but exactly the opposite, the thing that lifts you up and sustains you.