Notes from the artist Tennessee Loveless: This piece entitled “Ce N’est Pas Un Chapeau”, is a part of the Contemporary Modern Series, and is in reference to Belgian surrealist, Rene Magritte. In order for me to fully understand the concept of pop, I wanted to research some of my predecessor’s predecessors. Magritte was one of the original pop movements influences (IE: Ruscha, Warhol, Johns) and in certain contexts he is considered to be the catalyst of the pop movement from his own ‘pop surrealism’ aesthetic.
I had never seen any of his work in person until my recent trip to The Metropolitan Museum in New York City. The piece that I had always wanted to see “Ceci Ne Pas Une Pipe” was displayed there (which funnily enough is normally at LACMA where it is permanently placed, but has been on tour I’m gathering forever). “Ceci Ne Pas Une Pipe” (translation: “This is not a Pipe”) or otherwise known as “La Trahison des Images” (The Treachery of Images, and/or “The Betrayal Of Images”) was a title that reflected the actuality of the painting, and in essence, all art where the titles reflected the nature of the work. The title was true, the image wasn’t an actual pipe, it was.. in fact a painting of a pipe. The statement of the work I thought was brilliant and to see the piece in person was fantastic.
This piece is in homage to his statement and aesthetic. It combines “Ceci Ne Pas Une Pipe” with his most noted piece “The Son of Man”, which Magritte paints an apple obscuring a man in a bowler hat’s face. Magritte mentions: “Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.” In Mickey, the clouds, that are found in most of Magritte’s work, obscure his face. Some clouds obscure parts of the face, while resting underneath others (example, the cheek and smile), furthering manipulating dimension and multiplying unseen layers that Mickey holds. In the hat, the words say “Ce N’est Pas Un Chapeau”, which means “This is not a Hat” in reference to Magritte’s main points of his work.
Tennessee Loveless, born in Greenville, SC, is a contemporary pop artist whose bold use of color and pattern evokes an immediate visual impact to the viewer, but also creates a poetic irony when one considers the fact that Loveless is severely colorblind. Despite many obstacles throughout his life and career he has persevered in pursuing his career as an artist. He is driven by his passion for painting people and iconic fictional characters in a way that strikes an emotional and nostalgic connection through the power of the one thing he is blind to.