Work on Monday: “Malingerer” by Ray Colleran

Malingerer by Ray Colleran, painting for Work of the Week
"Malingerer" by Ray Colleran,

Welcome to the first of several new weekly features will be rolling out over the next couple months.

Every week, “Work on Monday” will examine one piece of art from a Hamptons artist, alive or dead. The works will be from all manner of media, be it painting, drawing, sculpture, photography or digital images. Join the conversation by posting your thoughts in the comments below and email suggestions for a future Work on Monday here.

Ray Colleran (Sag Harbor, born 1968)
Mixed media on book page on panel
11 x 14 x 2 inches, 2011
Private collection, East Hampton

This modestly sized painting by Sag Harbor artist Ray Colleran is an altered vintage book page mounted on a 2-inch deep Ampersand clayboard panel. The piece is lush and luminous with various applications of acrylic and oil paint, oil sticks and beeswax, as well as doodles and text scrawled in what appears to be charcoal.

Colleran‘s subject is from his Killers series, featuring portraits of executives and VIPs from a 1958 vanity publication by U.S. defense conglomerate General Dynamics. Each face in the series is painted over and defaced, or enhanced, with Colleran‘s signature mix of loose, mad scrawl and layers of oil pastel, paint and other materials, with which he frequently experiments.

In this case, the “killer” is set beneath the word “Malingerer,” almost like a neon sign. The man, clearly a member of the post-World War II military industrial complex, is further painted in bright feminine swaths of pink and purple, like makeup on his cheeks, eyes and lips. A pink cross decorates his forehead.

The artist has no love for the death dealers and war profiteers he paints, yet he admits to a certain inexplicable childlike fascination with them—and the tanks, warships and planes he so often depicts.

Check the Arts & Entertainment section every Monday for the latest “Work on Monday.”

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