I have never been very good at giving titles to my work. It was my misguided idealism that thought that a picture should speak for itself. Obviously the quality of the work is essentially what drives our aesthetic experience. However a good title is the starting point for the viewer. For a long time the above painting was titled The Mandolin Player. This picture has been admired and shown in many different venues. Unfortunately most people missed the underlying irony of the image. That is why I changed the title to The Trickster. Looking closely at the picture one sees that the musician is not holding the mandolin properly. In fact, the instrument is broken. There is a crack in the body near the neck. The act of looking at this piece only reinforces the silent metaphor.
The handmade frame that I constructed for the painting is also an integral part of the artwork. The latin inscription: Imago Virtutus Simulacrum Veristatis roughly translates to ‘the appearance is much more appreciated that the truth.’
You can see The Trickster in person at the Oak Park Area Arts Council Regional Exhibition at the Oak Park Public Library Main Branch. The show opens this Saturday. The OPAAC’s site is found here. The Oak Park Public Library event announcement can be found here.