Thaddeus Radell’s work brings new life to ‘figurative’ work. The paintings show figures, but they seem both literal and figurative [symbolic]. And they don’t disguise the fact that they’re made out of ‘stuff’.
They remind me a bit of Lascaux cave paintings, some of the first ever done by humans. We have the material to look at, and lens of history, but that’s never enough.
What was the first painter thinking? Was it just a continuation of everyday life? Or maybe the work had symbolic power, or a social angle. I suspect they must have had a premonition of things to come, and were reaching for that thing just outside the cave of shadows and reason.
In Shakespeare too, the best part is that’s it’s always about real life, and more than the play, and so is always breaking through the fourth wall, even though that part of it is only obvious is fits and starts.
So this work provides the opportunity to be transfixed, oscillating between the material and the real, suggesting it may be possible to break through that wall once again.