Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Summary Judgment


In a court of law, it is the job of the jury to decide issues of fact; for example, when one person says the light was red, and the other says the light was green, the jury may conclude the light was green based on the credibility of the witnesses' testimony. When there are no disputed material facts for a jury to decide, however, prior to trial a party may make a written request to the judge to rule in that party's favor. This is called a motion for summary judgment and is made on the grounds that, by applying the law to the specific undisputed facts of the case, there is no way the moving party can lose.

Succeeding on a motion for summary judgment is rare, and denial of the motion can hinge on conflicting evidence of the smallest detail or subtlety. But when summary judgment is granted, it ends a case before it even gets to trial, and thus can be considered the ultimate victory in the realm of civil litigation.

This painting is not a literal depiction or portrayal of the motion in the abstract, but it is an expression of the forcefulness and power behind an intangible human creation, something potentially terminating while at the same time delicately balancing layers: the obvious, the subtle, and what can be inferred.

The painting is a further exploration of human imperfections in contemporary society, including the power of subtlety. In a world of global communication and digitization, the language of painting, as I see it, will become even more powerful as our custom of viewing flawless images on digital screens continues to mask what makes us human – our imperfections. The human element, emotions, and intimacy of a painting will never be replaced. Just as the human element will always be an integral part of the law.

Judgment At Sunset (Redondo Beach)
, 30" x 30", oil on canvas, 2010.