Pinelawn Pools is a group of five large paintings depicting an abstracted American family at play in suburban swimming pools of the 1960’s.
Isca Greenfield-Sanders’ paintings draw on art historical antecedents including Thomas Eakins, Matisse, David Hockney, Chuck Close and Peter Doig. Her subject matter is deliberately low-key and subtle. Greenfield-Sanders primary concerns are the thematic and formal possibilities of landscape painting and the relationship between memory and landscape—how universally recognizable places (beaches or, here, suburban poolside scenes) can evoke both deeply personal and communal memories and associations.
Greenfield-Sanders also explores the formal possibilities of texture, surface and color through a process in which she transforms original found photographic subjects into oil paintings. Searching flea markets, yard sales and eBay for photography archives
-family albums in particular-Greenfield-Sanders looks for photographs from the 1950s and 60s that then form the ground for her paintings. “Images from the 1960s have an aesthetic purity to them: they tend to be more timeless and free of logos and billboards and therefore lend themselves to being processed more easily,” she explains.
As in her previous painting series, Greenfield-Sanders processes the found images in several steps in order to create the finished paintings. After scanning the photograph into her computer, she manipulates and then prints the image onto rice paper and paints it with watercolor and color pencil. She then scans the watercolor, enlarges it, prints it in 7-inch square tiles that are affixed to canvas and then paints the image with oils. In each step the found image is altered until what results is often radically different from the source photograph. The resulting paintings remove the specifics of a particular family to reveal imagery that is rooted in American society and values. By exploring the relationship between found photography and painting Greenfield-Sanders attempts to free her subject matter from its original context through formal means.
Of the paintings in Pinelawn Pools, Greenfield-Sanders states: “I found the archive of slides on eBay last fall. Upon first viewing the images I was struck by their suburban “East coast” quality. I liked how nicely they contrasted with David Hockney’s swimming pool paintings which are so beautifully pristine and stylized. My swimming pools are nestled in dark forests so the palate can stick closely to the browns, greens, and blues of traditional landscapes. I want my paintings to feel pared down—essential and iconic.”