In The Republic, Plato talks about the ability that we possess, of representing something without having any knowledge of the thing itself. For example, it would be quite conceivable to move the viewer to tears with a painting about the horrors of war, without ever having set foot in a war zone. Both Plato and later Aristotle saw in this the potential for deception - that real emotions, reactions and opinions might be harnessed from images and words not grounded in truth.
In a world saturated with carefully construed images, particularly in the digital world, these issues of truth and representation take on special significance. For this series of installations, I painted well known images of public figures - their Facebook profile pictures - which had become iconic. As I painted Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Edward Snowden and Pope Francis, my trust in the image as true documentation led me to wonder whether I could know these individuals through their photos. This wasn’t the case for Madonna, whose image I pieced together from four different images of her cosmetically rebuilt face. Confronted with an image so physically and digitally distorted, I wondered whether it was still possible to trust the image and find any truth within it at all.