Thomas Brodhead – American, born 1968 – Domestic Bliss –2014 – acrylic on canvas – 48" x 36" x 0.75" (121.92cm x 91.44cm x 1.91cm)
In this arresting visual essay, the artist contemplates domestic life in a mid-century modern home during Eisenhower’s America:
Trophy-bride housewife Muriel is simply bored stiff. Even the thought of eating croquembouche and drinking codeine cough syrup from a brandy snifter isn’t enough to snap her from her ennui. Not to worry, though . . . hard-working husband Elwood will return home full of rampant sexual energy! But therein lies her dilemma: she’ll have to muster up enough gumption to convince him that not only has she climaxed but that she did so simultaneously with him. Horrors! If only the cookie-cutter couple lived not in the space-age world of the 1950s but in the 2010s, when husbands can use male-for-male hook-up apps on their smart phones to bump and grind on the down-low with the XY chromosomal set, well then Muriel wouldn’t have to be inconvenienced from her endless domestic drudgery to satisfy the concupiscence of her better half! This speaks nothing of the great variety of vaginal and bodily infections she might suffer from perhaps even the occasional traditional encounter he might provide her, assuming he’s not being cautious in his extra-marital dalliances.
A colorful work full of familiar yet strangely unsettling imagery, this painting would befit the waiting room of a therapist who specializes in couples counseling.