Making art is how I raise a question or explore a problem. This means my work is often driven by subject matter that I have personal experience with; subjects from daily life that challenge me. I am increasingly focused on women’s labor and the domestic arena; subjects that are both often overlooked in favor of more glamorous subjects. The inevitability of this work makes it easy to ignore, and therefore hard to see. The maintenance of daily life, however, has the potential to reveal a great deal about our values, hopes, and fears. When we begin to articulate it as the labor of caring for others; of maintaining and supporting a community, it becomes visible and holds value.
My recent paintings use the security pattern from inside of an envelope as a starting place to think about the invisibility that typifies this labor. This is accompanied by the specific details of contemporary life as documented by excerpts of my own to-do lists. Such items are specific in content but universal in character. They are familiar in how they reflect our plans and responsibilities. Joy, desire, and angst are as recognizable in the images of our time as they are in Greek theater masks from the third century BCE and Bernini’s baroque sculptures. The to-do list might be new, but the daily grind is not. The tragedy of an accident, the escape of a day dream, the anxiety of repaying a debt, these are both ancient and contemporary experiences. By contrasting quotidian references with some of the classics of art history, I am able to explore the symbols embedded in mythologies about women’s labor on a personal level.
For almost a decade now my paintings have been dominated by the color red. Initially this choice helped me to focus on choices about shape, texture, and mark making. Pyrrole red felt most capable of expressing the range of associations I wanted to use; everything from high energy enthusiasm to rage. Now this color palette, accompanied by a few neutrals like cream, beige, and burnt umber, allows me to fully explore a range of values that can express everything from a sharp biting clarity to a softer gauzy sentimentality. This is true of the kinds of marks I make with my brushes as well. Some objects hold tight edges, appearing almost as stenciled silhouettes or screen prints, while others are much more upfront with their physicality, appearing casual or even unfinished. This layering of technique feels akin to the work of my personal life, an ambivalent mash up of responsibilities, feelings, and mental dialogue. By putting this in my work, I aim to give representation to this important aspect of daily life.