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This painting is part of my Transformations series in which I explore tensions arising between notions of economic materialism and happiness. The title Running on empty refers to the hollowness, which can ensue from extreme materialism and acquisitiveness. It also evokes the consequent dwindling of the earth’s environmental and physical resources.
An affluent suburban landscape is rendered alien by the use of bizarre and vivid colours as may be found in a photographic negative. A couple, surrounded by their trophy house and golden car, seem oblivious to the angry orange sky, which could presage an environmental catastrophe.
- Richard Knafelc, 2014