The Hellish Tattoo of the Heart, oil on acrylic on canvas, 140 x 200 cm, 2021
Adam Lupton’s work grows out of his OCD, where his every day is filled with performing mental and physical rituals (checking multiple times to see if the door is locked), endlessly seeking assurance (constantly Googling to see if his emotions are “correct”), and repeating mantras and projections (what if this happens in the future, then what? then what? then what?) – thoughts that mediate between him and the exterior world.
Using variations or alternative versions of himself to express in some familiar-but-off landscape the unfolding emotions and actions of his OCD, Lupton works with non-traditional methods of paint application: using stamps, printmaking, and craft applications to express the varied, repetitive, and frantic emotions of intrusive thoughts. These applications mediate between him and the painting, much like OCD mediates between him and his world.
Through this lens, the work weaves together individual and societal rituals, spiritual tension, and self-defining myth, thereby illuminating the various attempts at and desires for clarity. These overlaps create narratives that play out on the canvas – borrowing their basis from Greek myths, religious rituals, rock lyrics, modern dating plights, domestic routines, history, introspection, sexuality, and compulsions – as Lupton casts a contemporary world of anxiety though questions of identity, masculinity, ego, modern-day loneliness, domesticity, and mental health.