Seeking within the language of painting an encounter with mechanical reproduction and sublimation, DeLaney presents us with groupings of unique ink drawings and paintings that have been hand-rendered to create distinct versions of the same image. Through this style of replication, the artworks re-situate photographic and mechanical reproduction within the psyche, and create a deeper connection to the process of physical engagement through precise technique.
DeLaney’s titular painting Kill Yourself Death Cult Goes Door to Door to Spread the Word of Love documents a process in which original photographs, stock images and patterns are combined into new configurations inconsistent with a single, identifiable aesthetic or painting technique. The works on paper consist of stills from Cecil B. Demille’s 1934 Cleopatra and are rendered in ink with a delicate eye toward their original greyscale configuration, seemingly interrogating the infinite variations that emerge within the photocopy-like images.
The works outline the artist’s occupation with modes of reproduction, cultural decline, and occult imagery, while engaging with possible alignments between the collapse of the ancient Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty and the unraveling of post-industrial European-American supremacy. In this context the suicide of Cleopatra, ending a dynasty, bridges individual death with cultural demise. Similarly the Kill Yourself Death Cult, a parody of present-day unsustainability and sensationalism, provides the artist's insight into the rationale for cultural entropy.
DeLaney also reveals a problem regarding the authenticity and unique character of mass-production; in an era in which we are accustomed and numbed by the repetition of familiar products, these pictures showcase the absolute impossibility of molecularly and spiritually identical objects. His work brings to mind Theseus' paradox, in which all the component parts of an object are shifted while it is asserted that the object has retained its character and authenticity.