Tax Return 2013, 2013, Oil on Canvas, 45x40cm
The two Tax Return paintings, though made a year apart, should be considered as a pair. The subject matter at first seems absurd and has a slightly humorous edge but on closer inspection, the image's source become clear. The uniform red stripe to the right of both paintings, at first read as a reference to a Barnett Newman Zip painting, later can be seen as a colour border used in the language of the media. The images are taken from an advertising campaign run by HM Revenue and Customs and are attached to the slogan 'I did my tax return early and found inner peace.'The adverts play on peoples innate desire for tranquility and an escape from stress. The painting process has decontextualised these images to the extent that they become entirely severed from their original function. Instead, they invite the viewer to contemplate the supposed meaning of the image, and in this respect, to fully engage with the work, they must slow down. The paintings still offer an escape from the stress of life, but it is no longer the hollow promise of an advertising campaign, rather it is the opportunity to pause and consider.