The first interiors that intrigued me were relatively empty ones, rooms that seemed to have had a history, but the traces of it were scarce, or no longer in evidence. Admittedly I was profoundly influenced by American painters as disparate as Hopper, Diebenkorn and Guston, in addition to a number of modern masters of painterly and animated space, such as Giacometti, Matisse, Magritte as well as the ineffable interiors of van Gogh, to name just a few. Add to that the light and shadow of Vermeer and film noir, and the notion that light transforms the atmosphere of a room, a poignant reminder of the passage of time, and the mix was enough to motivate some kind of response on my part.
Without people or a least a still life setup, a room seems by definition, empty. However, that room has the remains, the residue, of all that has occurred there, or might come to pass, as a part of its identity or aura. As the image evolves, so does my sense of the place, and what is essential about it, as a room for either comfort or meditation. Very often it turns out to be a room that I have visited, or one that I would like to visit, in the future.
I’ve always had a particular interest in books and photographs of interiors, specifically from the 1950s and 60s, most often in black and white, that somehow capture a period in American interior design that seems to me practical, organic and spare. I have spent some time looking through these period documentations, imagining the life that filled them, the post-war years and the new era of the 60s, and how much this country evolved dramatically in that time. It could also be that a world was disappearing, one that included a sense of interior space that seems to have represented both a naiveté and a concrete sense of a family space that compelled me at least to record its passing.
Most often I view the smaller works as studies, but at times they hold up as independent images, like a snapshot; at least a mood has been established. Taken together they could suggest a house tour, a kind of room to room sojourn, or moments captured with mental notes from several locations. They are intended to invoke for the viewer, hopefully, a sense of familiarity and association; a space for contemplation.
Robert G. Edelman