These paintings were painted between 2008 and 2009 during the Bank Bail Out…commemorating the friendship between the white collared workers and blue collared workers–
who were united in fear that the economy would collapse.
Attempts to focus on the pause, the in-betweens, the intervals of motion before the frantic movement resumes at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, one of the busiest bar and a landmark restaurant in New York City. In between the ceaseless hustle and bustle of running to and fro, from work, to catch a train, to get back home, only to do the same thing the next day, the act of getting a drink can almost be equated to catching one’s breath, and a process of social re-orientation. Within the bubble of this momentary escape, further little social cues are observed in a nod, a shrug, a shake, a turn of the shoulder. In the Oyster Bar, the true democratic nature of the American society reveals itself in the working bartender, who reliant upon tips for a living, can re-orient a person to the courteous standard of conduct in society. Thus a person, that frequents the Saloon at the Oyster Bar, who may be used to shouting orders in order to get his way, still have to check his methods at the hands of a working bartender, who might choose to only serve one drink, taking lengthy time in the simple monetary/drink exchange, or choose to serve someone else instead. The amount of tip money left is the patron’s only recourse to a shoddy treatment.
The paintings also highlights the nuances of socializing at the bar: the huddle of groups of people guarding their comfort zone and protecting their close-knit social circle; the the act of buying drinks and who buys, and who to buy for; the sometimes uncomfortable/lonely wait for a friend who is late or the pretense of waiting for a friend so as not be perceived as lonely (god forbid, people think you’re lonely); the process of acquiring a seat at a busy bar and defending that seat for a late friend; the exchange of information, the furious reading of the papers pertaining to the fragile state of the economy, and the lack of discussion for fear of the ensuing heated debate inappropriate to the atmosphere of social drinking.
The characters are on pause, as if waiting for the camera to click, indicating that the viewer (painter/onlooker) is only catching a glimpse of an ephemeral interval of motion.
Oil paintings by Jboncales