The Two Faces of January
The Two Faces of January
Inkjet on watercolour paper
90 x 67.5 centimeters

This series, Re-Imaginings, started out recontextualising classic art works, but the intention was never to stick with such a narrow agenda and The Two Faces of January is a homage to a writer who I started to read avidly in the early 1980's. Patricia Highsmith's 1964 psychological thriller describes a web of dependency and suspicion between a trio of American expatriates in Europe while they attempt to evade the attention of the police, a typical Highsmith scenario.

The problem with producing a piece of visual art about a literary work is that it can easily lapse into illustration, or alternatively it can become so non-specific that the connection with the literary source becomes tenuous. I didn't have a solution for this issue but I commenced work on a theme that re-appears regularly in The Two Faces of January, cafes and restaurants, and it reflects a favourite activity I enjoy, routinely going out for a coffee.

The setting is an outdoor cafe table typical of the country where I live - the reflection in the window is a streetscape in Tasmania - and the tension among the group is palpable by the angry pointing finger. The guy in the suit is upset at the attention his wife is giving their younger companion while she placates him by placing her hand on his arm. Their lifestyle is fuelled by bad habits, no food is visible on their table, we see only a wine glass, a drink bottle and a packet of cigarettes.

The Two Faces of January, 2014 movie adaption : New York Times