Using myself, friends and family as the subjects, I explore intimate themes with my art. My canvases are large--often six feet tall--and the figures are usually nude. While I am generally inspired by issues I have dealt with in my own life, the women in my paintings, whatever their age, are meant to be metaphors for issues faced by all women. My current series of paintings is about women's personal transformations and healing. I depict subjects who are in various states of emergence from patterns that have had a negative impact on their lives. My intent is to convey them breaking out of limitations and embracing awareness, strength and freedom.
Both the large size of the women and the thick, layered application of paint are meant to create an arresting visual presence echoing the internal strength of the figures. I paint the women naked to suggest their willingness to change and be vulnerable, while simultaneously embracing their sexuality and bodies. The women take ownership of both their femininity and their power. My objective is to challenge the viewers to question their own assumptions about strength and beauty.
Truss | Oil on canvas | 72" x 60"
My paintings, Truss and Proffer, specifically explore themes of emotional support among women. I was raised to believe that my blood family was supposed to be my sole source of support (whether or not they actually offered support) and that it wasn’t okay to seek outside sources of nurturing. It would never have occurred to me to ask another woman to hold me when I needed comfort or to mother me when I needed care. Being that close to somebody implied a sexual relationship only, and it took me a long time as an adult to understand that didn’t need to be the case. The women in these two paintings are healing from these old beliefs.
Truss depicts an older and younger woman; it is meant to suggest a mother and daughter relationship that is not necessarily a biological one. With the younger woman emerging from between the legs of the older woman, birth is implied. I am suggesting how we can be reborn and flourish at any age with enough emotional and physical nurturing. This is further suggested by the younger woman’s arm wrapping around the older woman’s leg and leaning on her for support. Truss also feels sexual. This is a reference to the beliefs about only getting this kind of nurture in a sexual relationship. I see the figure of the younger woman pulling away from that kind of enmeshment and becoming available to this new kind of relationship.
Proffer | Oil on canvas | 72" x 60"
Proffer follows Truss in exploring mothering. Here, the relationship between the two women feels less sexual and more tender. The older woman is holding the younger woman as a mother would a child. There is innocence about the proximity to each other’s sexuality. It isn’t disavowed, but it isn’t the reason these women come together. The younger woman is completely relaxed and open, letting herself be cared for and healing from a want of nurture. The older woman is both tender and content. She is showing that she is also receiving a gift and healing from this intimate relationship.
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