Taking place long after the events of "The American Burden," the fictional catastrophe that haunts all of Endres' paintings and characters, St. Abigail's Day depicts a bizarre classroom ritual. Now canonized, the caution-tape-clad folk hero of the Cephalophoric War, Abigail Daedalus, is celebrated by the post-Burden world. The children have begun to decorate the room with their interpretations of P.J. Endres Jr.'s paintings, a favorite St. Abigail's Day tradition and an educational opportunity, too.
acrylic on canvas, 72"x24"
About the artist
Paul Endres Jr. received his B.A. from Providence College in 2008 and his M.F.A from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 2011. Fascinated by the fictional nature of human history and how it is perpetuated, Paul's work is dedicated to commemorating the events of The American Burden, a fictitious catastrophe of his own creation. In 2012 Paul's work was shown at La Montagne Gallery and the TEDx Somerville Event. In the Spring of 2014, Paul will show his work in a solo exhibition at Childs Gallery, Boston. The Boston Globe featured Paul and his work in 2011 article, "High Five: Five Young Artists to Watch". In 2013 Paul received an Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, as well as a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship Award (2012) and the Springborn Fellowship (2010). Paul has taught figure painting as a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the S.M.F.A., Boston, and is currently teaching various painting and drawing courses at the Essex Art Center in Lawrence, MA.
Fascinated by the contradictory fictional nature of history and our part, as humans, in its infinite perpetuation, my work is the marriage of epic storytelling and formal subversion.
The ongoing series of paintings, comics, and prose depicts a single sprawling narrative that begins just after a mysterious modern catastrophe: the physical materialization and collapse of history. This event has come to be known as The Burden. In an attempt to secure a powerful relic, the severed head of the super-titan David Ocampo, a bloody civil war erupts among the inhabitants of Burden America, who showcase their twisted reason and folly. The paintings are the memorials to these pivotal events and historical figures of this Cephalophoric War, painted by the doomed fictional artist, P.J. Endres Jr., a master propagandist akin to Jacques Louis David.
Equal parts comedy and tragedy, the content and creation of the paintings of the American Burden is informed heavily by a variety of converging conceptual and visual polarities, including 17th - 19th century history painting with contemporary visual media such as comic books, with social satire always in mind. The paintings and their fictional history are treated and presented with the utmost respect. Theatricality, self-aware characters and intentional chronological errors (of this alternative reality) are meant to question the authorship and validity of the images entirely.
An unspoken yet crucial component to the work is the precise staging and documenting of each scene for use as source material. This phase in the process, involving family, friends, or collogues of whom I have much adoration, ventures slightly into that tentative territory: autobiography. This underlying personal connection to my subjects, coexisting with a distant grandiose apocalyptic history, offers a parallel reading to the work, as well as provides the work's central contradiction.
Welcome to Burden America.