artist statement

Occupying a space somewhere between realism and abstraction, my work is mostly figural in nature and is concerned with matters of the heart. The paintings are woman-centered, intuitive and introspective, with parts of myself invariably revealing themselves on the page. The traits are sometimes obvious – a shock of red hair or a certain look in the eye. At other times they are subtle; buried beneath chalks and gesso, peeking out between snippets of text or thread. Concerns about the body and its pleasures and discomforts relate to years spent practicing acupressure massage as well as a recent diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Work with children on the autistic spectrum highlights how difficult it can be to use our words, control our impulses and navigate personal space.

My process often begins by applying tea stains to paper, allowing texture and gesture to spark my imagination. Similar to searching the clouds for shapes, I add contour and composition to expand these first impressions into more recognizable forms. A variation on Rorschach ink blots, the shaping of the stains is a means of charting internal terrain.

Many of the pieces contain elements that are distorted or disproportionate, hinting at what it is like to be not quite right physically or emotionally. In one, a neck strains to hold up its head. In another, there is a hand that is absurdly heavy or an elbow that narrows unnaturally. These elements carry an important part of the narrative, and draw parallels to the oddness and frailty within us all.

In more recent work, the body has become more central than the face. The focus on the body was initially a matter of curiosity, a question of what would fill the void if I shifted my concern. A few things emerge. Feet on fertile ground, torsos angular and round, hands holding hearts, egg shells and occasionally, empty spaces. Yet, the creation of female torsos without heads has challenged my feminist sensibility. At a time when political rhetoric about women’s bodies and our ability to make our own choices is exceptionally charged, I find myself preoccupied with the implications. But, in the end, sometimes it really is about the body. Heads are nearby, and implied. We shape ourselves.

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