This body of work considers how creating personal mythologies can be one way of constructing an identity of the self. In the commissioned works, I used feedback from the subjects about their history and life, and then I created visual symbols to construct a mythology, which embodied the subjects� view of themselves. Since the commissions were only one painting I had to �sum up� their life in one work, which necessarily becomes a generalization. With the paintings about myself I could go into more detail, using several works to represent different aspects of my personal mythology. A theme that runs through several paintings is a reflection on my choice to be an artist, and not pursue a career in business after I had earned a degree in that area. The paintings are meant to express my doubts about whether or not I had made a mistake in my career choices, and to show the internal struggle of my being true to my artistic impulses versus my succumbing to the pressure of providing more financial support to my family.

My figurative work is a personal reflection on the human experience of sorrow, anxiety, fear, doubt, pain, and longing that accompany the event of a health crisis. These paintings represent the experience that my wife and I went through during her recovery period after colorectal surgery, wherein the universal emotions listed above are symbolically expressed on the canvases. The realist rendering of the figures reflects the reality of the situation's effect on the body. The exaggerated proportions of the heads further reflect how thoughts and mental processes become distorted and deteriorated in such a situation. The backgrounds are mental projections, painted in gray flattened colors to further separate them from the figures. They represent memories and possibilities, which are both reality and enigma. The plants are symbiotic parallels of the figures, which are links between the reality of the figures and the surreality of the backgrounds.

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© Pat Hobaugh