3j (Ms Affluenza) is taken from somewhere in the leafy suburbs of a major metropolis. The building is an architect-drawn reflective steel and glass construction with showy designer furniture inside. There is a lady standing right in front of us looking as much through us as she is looking at us. Somewhere in the space you might notice the surveillance camera. Everything here is well orchestrated. Everything is on show and you might sense that is no coincidence.

The aim here was to produce a psychologically charged portrait of a beautiful woman who is observing you amidst a stream of hyper vigilent thoughts. It is up to you to decide whether the painting has succeeded in that regard. The woman is heavily made up and dressed in a revealing dress whilst sporting a headpiece made of broken black hearts.

Although it is not recognised as a medical condition, Affluenza is a psychological problem affecting wealthy people. The word aptly combines the word ‘affluence’ and ‘influenza’. Critics of consumerism have used and abused the term ad nauseam. In this fine art context, you might detect another cue point. While wealth cannot buy you love, friends and good relationships, it does permit you to feel misserable in style. The term has also been used to refer to an inability to understand the consequences of one’s actions because of financial privilege. But here it is really an overload of expectations, anxiety, and waste resulting from the never ending pursuit of more. It can also be a sense of guilt for one’s own socio-economic superiority and it would not surprise anyone, if it led to narcissism and/or Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

In the fine art series Narcipolis, you can find more paintings like this one.

Title/Titel/Titel/Títolo #3j, Oil on canvas/ Öl auf Leinwand/olie på lærred/Óleo sobre tela 100x100cm.

narcipolis in situ