Recently, via my website, I was asked to answer some questions exploring femininity in contemporary art. The questions were quite thought provoking. I have posted the questions and responses here because I know some of you out there have wondered about these same things from time to time. Plus, its my first interview and I am quite excited!
What are the contemplating desires and aspirations the woman in are feeling?
Each of my paintings have a different theme, Some of the women in my paintings are comfortable with who they are, their sexuality and their bodies such as the painting Redhead.
The painting Ugly is the complete opposite despite the fact that it is a similar size and technique. I designed it this way to highlight the contrasts between them. I feel that both women are inside many of us, myself included. The woman in Ugly wants to be anyone other than herself, she is living a nightmare. The woman in Warm Light is soft, content, she has comfort and desires nothing more than to continue being loved and feeling love in return.
What are the underlining issues they are facing?
I frequently use my art to work through issues that I have faced or that others I know have faced. some are obvious, like Ugly, facing anorexia and the feeling that it produces, of doubting your own eyes and those of others, she stands there, bone thin, looking for more fat, more undesirability. She thinks she is ugly and her disease has made her so.
My monochrome Repose and Cocoon paintings are grief paintings.. the women are coming to terms with different things. For me personally they were a response to a car accident that left me with a disability but others get different feelings and interpretations from them which was my intention. something that is personal to me will translate completely differently to a different viewer.
Why did you choose to express emotion the way you did? The woman look quite distressed, is this the emotion you were trying to convey?
Some are heavily emotive for a few reasons. I am an artist who works intimately with my psyche so many works are pulled from my Subconscious feelings at the time. I mentioned Repose and Cocoon earlier as being works that stem from my emotions at the time.
The most deeply psychological and personal piece in my current folio is Pain which is related directly to my personal physical pain from the accident. this work evolved as I painted it and my conscious brain had very little to do with the outcome – this was a pure expression of my own personal pain and one of the hardest paintings I ever did but hardest of all was to leave it in its raw bleeding state.
Usually I like the viewer to derive their own feelings from a painting, what makes one person relate to their problems with depression another person may find tranquility in. I have heard both responses to Repose for example.
Occasionally in a painting such as Ugly or Pain I feel a need to communicate the emotion strongly to the viewer, try to help them understand what it is like, perhaps help them feel for a moment what it is to live with chronic pain or and eating disorder. The raw, heavily emotive paintings are the ones I have received the best feedback from, because they are so strongly emotive and highly personal.
What is the reason for the distortion of the bodies, in some pieces?
Studying anatomy is a huge key for knowing which rules to keep and which ones to break. Distortion and exaggeration are all tools to emphasize a point or to cause the viewer to question why. By emphasizing a body part I can ensure the focal point or a point of contention and questioning. sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes not. I will distort to hammer a feeling home or to display the psyche and the perceptions of the person that is twisted.
What was the reason for the color choice?
Sometimes the use of color is emotive, sometimes I choose a color subconsciously as I know it will work to convey the feeling of a piece. Sometimes I want to experiment and play with colors a little to see the results and sometimes I just like a particular color.
Was the ‘Feminist movement’, an influence, in any way?
I don’t think the feminist movement had anything to do with the development of my work but did have to do with my development as a person. My works frequently center around us as women and the pressure we as women put on ourselves and each other. the body issues, the fear, resentment, and the power and abandon we sometimes let ourselves feel.
Why are the faces of these woman not visible, in majority of the paintings?
An author frequently will not describe their characters too much to enable the reader to imagine themselves in the characters shoes. In a way, that is what I am doing here. it is easier to relate to the women and easier to understand their feelings and feel them yourself if not distracted by a face. This series of work is about the body and how we, as women, feel about ours. I have done plenty of portraiture work and felt that it would be best for myself to create these feelings if I could focus on the body and not on the face. This also made the pieces challenging from an execution point of view as I needed to convey feeling through the body alone. This adds complexity to the understanding of the piece by allowing the viewer to question the meaning and the feel because all of the expression is borne by body language.