Based on an 1870s colorized image by George Sommer of a re-drawn wall mural extrapolated from the findings at Pompeii.
Despite the aura of durability that the acrylic face and aluminum backing impart to this colorful rendition of a Pompeian wall painting, the artist eloquently alludes to impermanence and decay in this imposing image. Huey is intrigued by mutations in form and meaning that stem from the passage of time and the manipulation of an image by multiple hands. In this case, a “dig” through the image’s history reveals the following phases:
• the fresco’s creation soon before 79 CE (the date of Pompeii’s destruction)
• the painting’s discovery in fragments during early-nineteenth-century excavations
• the mural’s reconstruction in a somewhat fanciful drawing
• the black-and-white photograph of that drawing by Giorgio Sommer around 1870
• the photograph’s subsequent colorization and its deterioration over 135+ years
• Huey’s traditional, analog photograph of the colorized nineteenth-century photo
By restoring the image to its original monumentality and encasing it within sleek, modern materials, Huey has added a new stratum to the painting’s long and layered history.