Inspired by several thousand inherited photographs taken in Japan and California during the Korean War, Samuel Blatt’s Peers showcases the relationships between American soldiers and civilians during times of leisure and inactivity.
The scenes throughout the series look friendly at first glance, but the photographs that the paintings are based on were taken less than 10 years after World War II. With this history in mind, viewers are left to wonder about the lingering tensions from the recent war in Japan and how those dynamics might have shaped the relationships depicted in the series.
Though inspired by real photographs, Samuel allowed himself to edit the images to alter their meaning. Figures and elements are added, subtracted, and manipulated to show the viewer where to look and how to feel about each painting.
“Parts of the painting must die to allow others to shine brighter and have a stronger effect,” says Samuel. “If the painting is homogenous in its treatment, the painter has asserted no opinion on the subject.”
Blatt was influenced by the cinematography of Henri Clouzot, Jean Cocteau and Robert Wise, and this inspiration shines through in this series of work, with cinematic methods of tension used to enhance or change the narrative.
Samuel Batt graduated from the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago in 20112 with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Painting in 2012. During his studies, Blatt apprenticed under Master Painter Kevin Wolff.
Peers will debut at Seattle’s Linda Hodges Gallery from 4 October.