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  • Landon Clay

American Southern Gothic with Knife

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

I was reading a lot of Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy while I painted this still life. The spare prose and earnest depictions of life provided examples of what I often seek in my work. I try to paint one true thing and then another. Sometimes life is brutally harsh and unfair. These boots have seen better days, and the string reminds me of life's complications. Still, the shoes hold together, and the knife is still sharp.


The knife indicates ordered intellect and ideas whose sharp and precise edge can untangle a Gordian knot of tangled twine. This knife, supported by those weathered and used work boots whose collaborative effort enables like-minded and cooperative parties to employ those ideas, and by doing so, cut through life's chaos, the tangled twine.


Those boots are my own, and even after a decade's use, they still hold up. They have carried me through cow-pastures, across Scottish Highlands, and over the Spanish Pyrenes. Thus, I can find thematic significance in simple objects. Although this is my interpretation, I understand that these objects and the still life may have a different meaning to other viewers. I hope that observing these quotidian objects will allow others to appreciate their own lives in a new light.