This painting, like the similar large-scale work Ashley’s Window, represents the Window Series aesthetic in its most complete form. Here the influence of Cubism is most clearly felt. The interest in geometric form and the multiple levels of reflection on one flat surface (the window glass, the painting surface) are evident continuations of Cubist concerns with representing multiple perspectives of three-dimensional objects on a flat picture plane. The painting invents a realist idiom to explore the same ideas. The Window Series recognizes the fact that the radical vision of the Cubists has been culturally digested, so that the baffling problems of perspective and time which they strove to express in fractured and aggressively unrealistic terms can now be passively registered by the seeing eye. A mode of representation has become a mode of perception; experiential reality has been changed. Realist painting can now contain the paradoxes of Cubism because postmodern people see the world this way.

In its subject matter, slaughtered animals, Meat Market also comments on a long tradition of genre painting that stretches as far back as Rembrandt’s flayed ox and yet that can be as modern as Chaim Soutine or Damian Hirst. Meat Market shows lambs displayed for Easter, and is one of only two works in the current exhibition to depict a human figure, albeit only as a reflection. The live person and the dead animals inhabit the same flat picture plane within the myriad reflections, a comment on the ability, or perhaps the necessity, of artistic convention to render all objects into simple signs on a painted surface.

Like the Chinese window paintings, this work also features text in a language unreadable to the artist; further, the only English text provided is transposed, the mirror-writing favoured by surrealists (this feature is also present in Trinity). Text appears as sheer pictorial form that resists interpretation.

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