As we step into Ted Zourntos’s time capsule of 17th Century Dutch inspired oil works, we embark on a journey through time, to the early emergence of the merchant class. We cannot help but become immersed in the glimmer of these enchanting still lifes, transfixed by the hypnotic allure of razzle-dazzle objects, the crisp crackling of gift wrap, and intense bursts of colour. Blinded by the glean of these synthetic artifices, we stare deeper, soon realizing the unusual quandary the artist has laid in front of us. Behind this glitzy smokeshow lies a haunting, yet comedic interpretation of modern-day decadence, expressed through a series of visual puns that poke fun at Western culture’s obsession with material wealth. In a feat of clever trickery, Ted distracts his audience with glamourized images of kitschy plastics, intuitively arranged. These sculptures symbolize the illusion of luxury that underlies today’s oil-based economy and perpetuates consumer dependency on petrol products.
Dangling like free-floating pendulums against a blackened backdrop, these hand-made edifices do just what they intend: cause viewers’ eyes to glaze over as they stand, entranced by this dazzling display of counterfeit riches. Each painting imparts a looming sense of finality, with its black, petroleum backgrounds closing in on the present moment, transplanting viewers into the immediacy of the now.
Lindsay Ogus, 2015
Spolia Opima, 2016
Oil on canvas