1999, Oil/Canvas/Panel, 35'"x 31.5"
Fort Wayne Museum of Art Collection
. . . The Indiana suburban home in John Hrehov's Standing Still, 1999 is not the same as the Iowa farm house in Grant Wood's American Gothic, 1930, but they belong to the same world of experience. They're both sited in the Midwest: Wood was an American Scene painter, and Hrehov is a New American Scene painter, and for both the so-called American Heartland is the scene that best epitomizes what America stands for: sober decency, family values, comfortable security. (Iowa and Indiana seem less likely to suffer what New York City did on September 11, 2001.)
Certainly that's what Hrehov's tidy home, with its windows fearlessly opening on the world, brightly lit interior, and well-maintained appearance-it's a suburban dream of virtue and safety come true-stands for. But it's "standing still" -- not just unmoving, but going nowhere. The title is ironical, double-edged, critical, subversive, witty: it makes us look at the happy scene twice, wondering what the people who live there are really like, behind their conformist facade.. . .
John Hrehov's Dry Wit
Donald Kuspit, New York City, 2001