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Oscar Mooney

These three paintings that comprise the series Backseat Lovers are meant to examine the recognition of tragedy through different contexts. The core question these paintings attempt to ask is if tragedy is a force dependent on context, or if it is beyond requiring physical depiction and can exist without the need of human expression to convey it. Within these still images there are two main factors that create the context of tragedy; those being recognition of the event, and the depiction of human expression. Each of these three paintings attempts to explore each factor isolated on its own. The painting of Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn into office is an extremely recognizable photograph, and beyond its prevalence, also contains a great deal of human expression. The second image is from Kennedy being transported to the hospital. It is much less recognizable and the tragedy depicted relies more on the gesture and expression of the human forms within it. The third and final image is a crime scene photograph of the backseat of the convertible that carried Kennedy, which is devoid of expression and for the most part, context. Each of these paintings serve as a meditation for the viewer on how we perceive and understand tragedy to exist: as a dependent or independent variable. 

UNCSA High School