My still life portraits investigate issues of women’s empowerment and changing identity. These paintings express women’s strength and struggle for equality in the 21st century.
Starting with paper photographs of women, I fold, tear, and crumple the images to give them a new 3rd dimension, communicating both disruption and resilience. I make large paintings of the fragile paper constructions to fix transitional moments in a solid form.
As an American female raised in the 1980s, I have always experienced women’s cultural identity in the midst of powerful and controversial transition. My paintings describe the unique possibility and uncertainty of that experience. This work grew from multi-panel color portraits of women I was making. I moved to single panel paintings in black and white to make the visual statements clearer, with fewer distractions. Distorting photographs of women disrupts our conditioned first responses – ugly/pretty, young/old – and their associated value judgments. Being able to clearly see the subject’s eyes shows her insistence on engaging with the world, and the burden that engagement can cause.
What is women’s new cultural identity? What can we be? We are in a time where that is still in flux and constantly under siege. My work shows there is purpose in changing what is possible for women, but also an exhaustion that must remain mostly hidden in order to continue forward.