Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Babies and Patterns

This exhibit was made possible in part by a DCA Premier Grant in partnership with the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI)

The idea of painting the human form in a very realistic, almost super real way and having it live in an unreal environment or atmosphere has sustained in my artistic thought process for over 15 years. This idea began as a way to surround the figures with abstract ways to represent emotions, struggles, inner thoughts and spirituality. Through the 15 or so years of working to successfully bring forth my vision, I worked on the way in which I paint the flesh and the way I work the paint in the surrounding areas of the painting to visually suggest these ideas. In 2003 I began to use babies as my subject.

In the three years after giving birth to my daughter in 2005, it was nearly impossible for me to have enough time, energy and the state of mind to make serious paintings. My life as I knew it had changed entirely and therefore I questioned and searched for reasons I painted what and how I did. I knew when I began to work again, like everything else; it would not be the same. Slowly, like a lifting fog, over that three years and beyond to now things began to become clearer than I had ever seen them. Even since the time I proposed this grant I have a deeper and clearer vision. Therefore, the work has taken a slight shift than what was originally proposed.

Surprisingly, two things in my work still sustain, the need to take the human figure and put it in an environment that represents something somewhat metaphysical and babies as subject. When I proposed the grant I had begun to think of this environment in terms of patterns. It became clear to me that different types of patterns could abstractly represent emotions or suggest a mood. I began to think of the figure immersed in patters. Thoughts of what we are born into this life with, things afflicted on us before we are even born began take precedence. I originally thought I would make paintings of babies of diverse ethnicities floating in intricate patterns, the patterns sometimes infiltrating the figures. I would explore themes of innocence and convey a message of humanity. But as I stared to paint and draw it became frighteningly clear that this work was taking a much more personal turn. I could no longer consider this work to be a statement on the world in general. It has become an exploration of myself, the effect my child has had on my life and the awareness of the things, patterns, some that need to be continued and celebrated, but even more profound, the ones that need to be broken.

As a result, the work in this exhibition is just the beginning of something much bigger. The beginning of what I expect will be years of work.

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