Karina Aguilera-Skvirsky
Stephanie Andrews
Bernard J. Canniffe
Matthew Fisher
Rainer Ganahl
Joy Garnett
Ilona Granet
Marc Lepson
Max Liboiron
David Luke
Pamela Matsuda-Dunn
Robin Michaels
Lina Pallotta
Michael A. Rippens
Dread Scott
Natacha Seideneck
Therese Stowell

Michael A. Rippens

Captive Audience (Channel 7)

2003 spray enamel on Plexiglas, 20" x20"


The paintings in the Captive Audience series depict ordinary New Yorkers watching television in their homes from the vantage point of their TV sets. These painting were conceived during the U.S.'s latest war with Iraq. Like many other Americans, most of what I knew about the goings on oversees came directly from my tube. I therefore found myself dependent upon as well as mesmerized by the stories and images I received through the television -- blurring the lines between news and entertainment. In these portraits, I attempt to capture the entranced, slack-jaw stares of my friends as they sit in their darkened living rooms receiving information through the airways as if via hypnosis.


In this age of omnipresent mass media, it has become far easier to sit back on our couches and Lazy Boys and be served our news rather than to seek out alternative sources of information -- to have cheap entertainment delivered directly to our living rooms than to find more creative, meaningful and healthier ways of spending our free time. Of course, this convenience comes at a price. By turning the focus away from the TV set and onto the TV viewer, I invite the audience to reflect upon how the television, with its propensity to brainwash and beguile, is affecting our culture as a whole, as well as to examine their own personal relationship with the media of television. We can all relate to the individuals in these paintings. And since we rarely get a chance to watch ourselves watching TV, this unique glimpse offered by the paintings in this series can help us reflect upon just how captive an audience we've become.