Linda Griggs - Statements


The average age for viewing porn for the first time is eleven.  On college campuses there are young men who find they are disappointed with an actual girl in their bed because real life does not live up to the expectations produced by years of viewing porn. The term porn addiction is routinely used.


The biggest disparity between porn and real life is the first sexual experience when awkwardness and discomfort are often the norm. 

This series contrasts images from porn with text from people's true life, loss of virginity, experiences. 


This series, is based on stories I've collected about the contentious, heartbreaking and ridiculous problems that arise when remains must be honored. 
In western art the narratives depicted are based on known stories -- Greco-Roman or Judeo-Christian myths, historical incidents, etc. -- and explanatory text is not necessary. My narrative paintings and drawings, however, tell the unknown stories of everyday people making the text essential and it appears in the title or in the paintings themselves. 



Having grown up in Oklahoma and South Carolina where story telling is treasured, it was only natural that my paintings began to include text. Living in New York made me aware of the wonderful, exotic qualities of the American, rural character and appreciative of its relaxed wit and wry humor. Each image includes a story that broadens in its scope to depict class, race, death or gender politics. Often puns and art historical references occur between the image, the title and the text. For example, Suddenly Last Birthday uses the background of Las Meninas to emphasize the princess reference. The title refers to the Tennessee Williams play about a cannibalistic event. Eat Crow the composition is based on The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters by Goya, which refers to Aunt Faye staying up night after night to reproduce a pie recipe. The title, Eat Crow, refers to the American colloquialism for humbling a person. Scarlet Runner refers to a type of bean as well as to the red Indian evading the law. 

All of the stories in these narrative, game and ontbijtjes or laid table Still Life paintings are true. My Great Grandfather never did time for the murder.


In this series I began taking family photographs, laying them out in a narrative sequence and adding a story.  The stories are as true as I can make them and involve interviews with several family members.
At the McDowell Colony I had the opportunity to have writers work with me on this project.
The photos either further illuminated the story or presented an image so contradictory as to make the viewer question the sincerity of any posed photos of happy families.


My subject matter is based on family photographs, whether they be my own, my friends' or those I've taken from the dumpster behind the Photomat in Richmond, VA.  For me there is a common feeling in them all: the American dream and it's reality, the isolation of the suburbs and meaninglessness of a consumer existence. 

The spontaneity of the moment that these photos capture is snapped by a camera and forgotten unless found in the back of drawer or in an old album.  The photos are a cheap, disposable commodities and the memories seem also to be disposable and discarded.  But by spending weeks meticulously painting these images  I  make them precious.  I am commemorating and solemnizing these discarded moments. 

IIn posed photos I examine the tensions that lay under the surface of the smiling family members. 

Although the paintings may seem to be direct copies of photos, they are not.   I make visual reference to photographic light and space to reinforce the credibility of the image, but all aspects of the photographic image are manipulated and edited through the painting process to bring the viewer to my understanding of our shared homogeneous American past. 

I work on a small scale because I feel the private experience of standing intimately with a small painting can be more intense than the shared experience of standing with the public in front of a monumental painting.