STEPHEN GOODFELLOW, born 1953
The Argument, 1984
acrylic, primary micropointillism
Goodfellow's updating of Jan Steen's Gambler's Quarrel reveals ways in which artists quote one another to create works with contemporary implications.
Goodfellow has captured both the underlying meaning and the spirit of humor in Steen's work. 17th-century Dutch viewers would have read the painting as a comment on the absurdity of human behavior.
Today we may not be aware that many objects in Steen's image are symbolic, such as the overturned beer stein that refers to sexuality. But we can be amused by Goodfellow's substitution of a Monopoly board for Steen's cards and still see the quarrel as absurd.
This intervention also explores the relationship between images and experience. By building his surface out of dots of color, Goodfellow replicates the construction of an image on a television screen. The fact that the imaged scene is not completely realistic points to the concept of TV as an artificial mediator of contemporary experience.
To the next artist...