2013 - 2014
Brief Statement for Confluence Gallery's "Woman: Lady. Girl. Female. Chick. Dame. Broad. Lassie. Wench. Maiden. An Artist’s Interpretation." show in which I was asked to explore what i believe it means to be a woman:
A woman is half of the human equation—the half that provides life. She is a powerful, sensual creature who shows beauty in many shapes and forms, but also complexity and fortitude…all while establishing her equality in what’s sometimes considered to be a “man’s world.”
Storytelling is actually the core element of my art—the foundation upon which my paintings are built. I’m intrigued by early myths, traditional folklore, the histories, and the classics. Each painting I make explores one of these things, and every element in my compositions has symbolic meaning that supports that story.
I believe that storytelling is one of the basic principles that has shaped who we are, and has helped us on some level to understand the human condition. Stories haven’t always been so dry, superficial, and easy to consume (my problem with most literature and movies today); there was a time when they challenged us, and forced us to think by not supplying all the answers. In some way, I’m searching for the root of our beliefs, the origins of our religions, our political views, and the events that created our current world view. Perhaps most importantly, I’m fascinated by how many of the basic building blocks of our society have been forgotten or changed to a point beyond recognition. Looking to the past is my attempt at understanding us, and certainly has become a path to understanding myself..
2010 - 2012
Shadows, Persona, and Trickery:
Shadows, Persona, and Trickery is a collection of paintings which draws influence from the effects of magic and religion as cultural phenomena that shaped our early societies, the disconnect of the modern mind from these theories and beliefs, the innate manipulative quality that we as humans possess...and a search for the soul, which I believe is the construct that holds all of these ideas together in our collective unconscious.
The work is heavily influenced by the events, rituals, and belief systems that are chronicled in James Frazer’s The Golden Bough. Each painting is laced with multiple layers of meaning and symbolism, some specific to a single tale or belief, and others exploring the broad similarities between vastly different societies and religions. A few points of departure, however, make the content uniquely mine. While the book references every aspect of a particular belief or custom, my body of work focuses on the broader psychological relationship between figure and symbol. And unlike Frazer’s strict adherence to an anthropological account which is utterly void of self, I insert my own perspective and bias, perpetuating the process of transformation these ideas have taken since their origins in our early thought.
While thinking about origins of thought and belief in our species, there was also a lot of time to consider our innate deceptive qualities. Simply looking at what is included (and excluded) in historical or religious texts is a perfect example of this. Although I don’t believe we are all up to no good, we do have a way of manipulating situations in order to achieve a particular outcome. With this in mind, I decided to give a nod to Carl Jung’s archetype of the “trickster”, the character that has a knack for breaking the rules—sometimes intentionally, sometimes not—for an outcome that falls on the positive side of the coin. The multiple hands on each figure represent the parlor trick, or sleight of hand, in all of us.
Most of my paintings feature a variety of symbols. Many of them, for example, are embellished with a string. Although the string has taken many forms and meanings throughout my work over the years, its manifestation in this body of work is a connecting point between our past and contemporary modes of thinking. My work also uses symbols and visual cues once widely known—i.e. fauna as the embodiment of a specific god, flora to indicate worship of a goddess—and combines them with figures adorned in contemporary attire and posturing. There is a physical and psychological disconnect between these things, and although the string doesn’t tie them together, it symbolizes the “life” and “being” between them and the interconnectedness of ideas. The string is also red, a color indicating life, and much like its inclusion in early wedding dresses symbolizes the basic human nature in us all.
My work is about the disconnect between historical rituals and beliefs and the roles of figures in a contemporary setting; it focuses on the space between these two worlds, sometimes a vast chasm and other times merely skin deep. Ultimately, however, I believe that my work is not completely done until viewers seek me out to discuss its meaning and how it relates to their experiences, beliefs, and their way of thinking.
2009 - 2010
Histories - magic - and trickery:
With Histories - magic - and trickery, I’ve continued to explore a few of the different themes that have cropped up in my work over the years. The connection between oral and written histories and our daily lives, the complex relationship between Life and Death, the personification of Death as the “working man” with tasks and desires, and in a new twist, the use of masks and multiple hands to depict the elements of trickery and deceit that are almost always present in human nature. In addition, hidden deep within all of these or perhaps the string connecting them all, a desire to find the soul.
This work draws inspiration from the mythology that shaped our early civilizations, the folklore passed down through the generations that served as lessons for children, as well my daily observances of these things thinly veiled by our modern perceptions of good and evil. Although I have relied heavily on Homer, Aesop, and the Grimm brothers the past couple of years, my focus has switched and references to imagery and themes from James Frazer's The Golden Bough have begun to appear.
Some of the work is focused on a single critical element, while other paintings are intricately laced with symbols and references, indicating that a greater story is at hand. I like to create paintings with imagery that generates discussion, but leaves enough room for the viewer to use their own imagination and develop a unique interpretation of the painting’s meaning. The story is yours to finish.
The King of change:
This body of work explores the ordinary routine of Death. Far from the embodiment of evil as seen by many cultures, I see Death as a part of each of us, ever present, tasked with maintaining a balance on life, and guiding us through a series of changes. The act of death is not an end, it is the beginning of the next stage in our soul’s journey; Death is merely waiting for the point at which we are ready to leave the Earthly constraints of our bodies, and guide us to the next stage. For this I have called him, and the body of work, The King of Change.
There are many places I have drawn my ideas of Death from, recently it was my reading of the Grimm’s Fairytale, “Godfather Death.” In early Germanic traditions he was seen as the keeper of a vast hall of candles, each representing an individual life. As the candle burned, so your life changed, and as the candle started to fizzle near its end, your life became that much closer to its end; upon the extinguishing of your particular flame, Death would make himself known and guide you to the afterlife. This theory of Death as a “guide” has carried over in many other cultures; it has been given the title, Psycopomop, literally meaning the “guider of souls.”
In these paintings, some explore him, some his actions, some even his interaction with living beings. The candles are a constant. Gone are the ghastly portrayals of him ending life, and the hauntingly empty face of the deceased; instead he is pictured in a dance with the living, sharing in life and in the light.
A concoction of visual allegories inspired by Aesop’s Fables, Grimm’s Fairytales, and mythology.
I am an incessant reader, forever searching out the connections between the histories and the people that I surround myself with. Recently introduced to the archetypes, I’ve found a bastion of inspiration in the likes of Aesop, the Brother’s Grimm and Homer. This idea of drawing connections from the past to my peers has appeared and reappeared arbitrarily throughout my painting career, but only recently have I dedicated an entire body of work to it. It’s sometimes macabre and mysterious, at other times light hearted or satirical, and my use of mark making and color acts as a binder for this allegorical and rather fluid collection of paintings.