While the concept of my small painting installations necessitates very small window-like shiny surfaces in order to create intimacy and invite the viewer in, these larger portraits in oil on canvas are about using painting surface variation and semi-abstraction to express inner states of being. For this particular series, I’m interested in the body of the paint as much as in the body of the figure and its space. The essential question that drives them is “What can a portrait be?”
Can it be from the back, the side, or even from above? Can there be a portrait with no features? Can it be a portrait if it is not even a person in the way that a writer can conjure a portrait of a city or way of life? When I paint still life, I often hear the remark that my still life objects are painted with the specificity of portraits. It used to be that a portrait was only a likeness of a sitter but now it contains something more profound like a strong sense of a place or person, or state of being. I’m interested in how it affects how we perceive the meaning of concepts like resemblance, definition and analogy, and how it can be used to express the idea of how we adjust ourselves internally to the world.
There is a huge correlation for me between the physicality of the paint and the human body in these works as well as in my mixed media works on paper. There is also a strong connection between the gesture of the painted mark and the gesture of the human body. Paint drips, it scumbles, it flows, it’s thick and thin and so is the body. I want this flip between the image and the paint so that there is not a duality but rather an integration of paint and image.