Gilded Splinters Opening April 21st, 2018
My works are investigations into personal guiding mythologies that illustrate ways that I have adopted unreasonable belief systems - for example, religious orthodoxies, superstition and cultural ideals of femininity. The female subjects depicted serve as proxies for my own contemporary experience of navigating society; an experience as personal as it is universal to all women. Formal decisions such as the distortion of anatomical structures and a saccharine palette draw on historical painting, while the incorporation of particular subjects suggest narratives pulled from religious stories that span many cultures and epochs. These qualities serve as historical references, but more importantly chronicle mythologies that continues to inform my experiences and actions.
Although the works are rather traditionally structured figurative paintings, it is both conventional material handling and digital automation that animate their somewhat lurid and violent nature. My studio practice combines many processes including 3D modeling and printing, diorama construction, and observational painting techniques. The palette is highly saturated and the rectangle overloaded; these painterly qualities coupled with the incorporation of sculptural elements reinforce the intrusive content of the paintings. The three-dimensional forms push beyond the rectangle and allow the painted narrative to spill into the space of the viewer.
DEPOSITION OF THE TURTLE QUEEN:
As most of my works link to one another to create a larger narrative, Deposition of the Turtle Queen serves as a portion of a larger story focused on the myth of Lilith. Many religious texts have cited Lilith as having been Adam’s first wife. Lilith, unlike Eve, was not created from Adam’s rib but instead from the same earth as Adam - they stood on equal footing. Lilith continually rebelled against Adam’s desires and was therefore banished from the Garden of Eden and cursed to be a demonic presence for all of eternity. The introduction to Lilith within my works can be viewed in Nocturnal Emissions, another piece from the series. As texts have described Lilith to be a night creature and akin to unclean animals such as owls, mice, and tortoises (in this case, turtles), Deposition of the Turtle Queen captures Lilith having recently claimed the Turtle Kingdom as her own. Comfortable in her new surroundings: a far cry from the beauty and splendor of the Garden of Eden, she is making do with what life has dealt her. A male figure is shown hovering in the background space. The painting marks the beginning of my foray into incorporating sculptural processes into my practice. The choice to break the rectangular picture plane was made in order to elevate visual drama by pushing the painting upward and outward.
The Conglomerate series are titled as such because they are an amalgamation of materiality and technique, generated using oil painting, 3D modeling & printing, gilding, and hydro-graphics. Upon completing my first works which incorporated manual sculptural processes, I decided to increase the fluidity of my sculptural work by exploring 3D modeling and printing methods. Furthermore, the incorporation of gold leaf reinforces the religious and artistic history that my work speaks to. I also wished to scale back the complexity of the painting to allow the sculptural elements to elevate the drama. Conglomerate III is a relatively simple portrait but still adheres to portions of themes and formal qualities found in my earlier work. The text found atop of the frame reads “Not beauty, but truth is to be admired.” This quote was taken from a cartouche found on a carved 16th century Florentine frame that originally housed a mirror. I incorporated this text into the Conglomerate series due to – what I felt at the time – was an excessive use of gold leaf within the work and my conflicted feelings about it. I also relate the quote to issues of contemporary painting as the term “honest painting” is regularly used to describe the work of a “Painter’s Painter,” something I am not, but once believed I wanted to be.