Innocence is a wonderful concept, associated with childhood and the whit and whims of being young. This painting shows it in a different light.
Casually leaning on a fallen tree, the simplistic youthful figure has an air of justice with his blindfold covering his eyes the implication being he can’t see the mess around him, at his side the rubbish that sits with abandon on the ground, the fallen man in the foreground all adding to a darker sense of what the painting is about. From the title, we feel a warmth toward youth and the total lack of vision, the ability not to see whats going on around them, yet the darker elements of the painting including our fallen figure, paint a more troubling image.
Forcing the viewer to look closer at the scene and question how this came to be. Is this innocent youth or perhaps blind violence. The image suddenly becomes a little less comfortable and much more stark, the colour palette sits firmly in the warmer spectrum of natural earthy tones yet the construction seems more sinister when you look closely leading you into the shadows at the base of the painting and forcing you to look at the whole scene again.
Does youth imply an ability to blinker themselves from the world at large and its many downfalls such as the fallen man; is he drunk? Is he dead? was he murdered? Or is it merely a beautifully constructed image designed to be whimsically looking at the innocence of the boy?
All of this is open to interpretation and speaks volumes to the darker undercurrent of youth culture.
For more on the artist see his website: https://jpmclaughlin.co.uk