Each body of work that I make depicts a group of women - versions of myself or members of my artistic community. In the 1990’s I solicited professional observers— including police sketch artists, illustrators and journalists — to construct my portrait in their industry-standard style, exploring the role of representation in the creation of identity. In my latest painting series, “In Her Studio,” I am creating an archive of practicing women artists whose bodies of work I want to investigate. Always engaged with portraiture, my work has gone from an examination of the self as configured through the gaze of others, to envisioning painting as an invitation to friendship.
I often have the feeling that my studio is populated by many other artists and we’re all weaving a tapestry of culture together. I spend hours looking at art in my studio, the process of discovery rewarding in ways I find hard to quantify. The amount of love you can have for art is almost endless.
My work comes out of my interest in other artists and wish for fellowship. I construct compositions that literally draw a community of artists into my world. In Her Studio is a series of paintings in which I depict an individual artist at the site of her creativity. While these artists are like beacons of meaning for me, the paintings are not portraits so much as scaffolding for my own formal explorations. In fact, I often think of them like refracted self-portraits. Those I admire become part of my personal lexicon, reused and repurposed in multiple paintings.
Most recently, this work led me to a new series that incorporates these paintings into my digital archives where they mix with the detritus of my mind and studio. Using Photoshop, I make layered compositions out of whatever is around me -- parts of earlier paintings, the drips on my studio floor, the accidental compositions on my palette, texts. This process allows me to push the work in new directions and invite other readings.
Afterwards, I print these digital compositions onto canvas. I rework them with layers of oil and acrylic paint, reintroducing materiality and confusing the digital and the hand. I want to complicate distinctions between flatness and depth, positive and negative space, opacity and transparency, thickness and thinness, legibility and muck. I embrace ambiguity because I think it more clearly expresses the place where creativity is mined. In aggregate, the paintings suggest moments in an ongoing unspecified story, alluding to an idea of an artist community. They celebrate artists and the solitude that brings us together.