May 4 – June 25, 2017
My pieces for this exhibit reveal what I believe to be the true nature of women. Women are powerful and strong, they are connected to the natural world, and they are untamable, despite society’s constant desire to do so. My intent is to show that it is this inner wildness and ferocity that makes all women beautiful, and not to be underestimated.
Mannequins are my muse. With oil paint, I explore the quasi-camouflage of mannequins in their urban abodes. My paintings grapple with the majesty and the distortion of human figures made out of resin, linen, plastic, wood, and even chicken wire. Buildings, cars, crosswalks, signage, vegetation, and “real” people accompany these ersatz humans in their glass cages.
A bit about technique: My “stained” window dressing paintings require thin, transparent layers. I begin with a multi-colored abstract acrylic base, with lights for darks and darks for lights. This foundation gives me color and contrast onto which my brushes can grab as I apply layer upon layer of oil paint, never getting too far from the argument that We Are What We Wear (even if we’re wearing nothing at all!).
Forever interested in the human figure, I never stray too far. As I’ve developed my style over the years I have begun thinking of each piece as a story. I have a vague idea of what I’m going to do but as I progress I let a story evolve, much as an author.
One of the great aspects of pencil work is the incredible detail and variety of surfaces from wool to glass, smoke to satin. In each piece I try to implement a variety of textures. As my story becomes more complete I begin to add props around the figure which embellish the narrative. I work relatively larger (30×40) than most pencil artists which allows me to delight my viewers with reflections in an eye, wrinkles in a dress or shine of a brass plate.
As a portrait artist my inspiration is drawn solely from my subjects and their hidden emotional truths. To be able to capture those emotions, I model my work in black and white colored pencil on drafting film. I have created a unique process where I literally strip away the colored pencil from the surface to expose the hidden values and retain a textured surface. I call this process “Drawing by Subtraction”. Working with a limited pallet allows me to concentrate on the forms, values and shadows. This limited pallet helps expose those dark and sometimes destructive emotional truths that may plaque my subjects. Each subject is a compelling visual portrayal of the human spirit, determination and courage. Working of drafting film allows me to capture these hidden emotions while creating the depth and transparency that gives the illusion of distance in the subject’s features. I strive to show the viewer that while at first glance my subjects seem serene and normal, but show a sense of inner frailty. This inner frailty is what has moved me into my next series documenting my subjects dealing with mental illness.