oil on wood panel, 2 x 4 feet
Coveralls was painted at the end of a three-year period during which I was employed as a carpenter. The experience changed the way I understood the symbolic nature of physical labor. In creating Coveralls I used the red pigment, the subtle cruciform composition, and the gestural brush marks to serve as symbols that loosely connect the rendering with the pictorial content. The coveralls serve as a metaphor for the laborer’s body, one in which daily toils slowly deteriorate the flesh and bone. Without romanticizing physical labor, I tried to elevate it by depicting the physical world at its most humble and most sacred. That the coveralls might be interpreted as a slab of meat in a butcher’s shop is a deliberate ambiguity, reinforcing the notion that the daily, corporeal sacrifices of a laborer nourish the bodies of loved ones. It isn’t necessary to search hard for parallels between “meat” and “body,” nourishment and sacrament.
Truitt Seitz, M.F.A., adjunct professor of art, has exhibited in New York and the Boston area. Coveralls was recently selected for a group exhibition juried by contemporary artists Jenny Saville, Vincent Desiderio and Eric Fischl.