BFA Thesis Exhibition 2011
Each person struggles with the different sides of their personality: which one we should reveal to the public, which one our family wants to see, and the one we don’t want to acknowledge. This body of work uses juxtaposition of different imagery to reference the hidden and revealed parts within a person’s identity. I present the viewer with a puzzle, challenging them to uncover the connections between the natural objects, figure, and ambiguous environment.
My current work evolved from an interest in the figure and the symbolism developed by humans for the natural world. I am interested in formal qualities of natural objects because of their organic shapes and also their symbolic qualities relating to our culture’s idea of the natural world relating more to the feminine than the masculine. I use symbols that already have some well-defined meaning in society to provide an “in” for the viewer.
I use the female figure in my work because it is the one I identify with and I have begun to see these images as having elements of self-portraiture. The figures are similar physically, but also the symbols and combinations come from my own experiences and interests. I work with poses that are characteristic of how women have been depicted in history and current media, which I associate with the visible and public personality. None of the figures look at the viewer, representing the controlled and perhaps dishonest public personality. Whether the figure appears in its entirety, is blended with the environment, or not at all relates to the figure is affected by the inner personalities. They may confront, be overwhelmed, or overcome the hidden parts of themselves that are revealed to the viewer in the form of symbolic natural objects.
The combination of drawing and printmaking is very important not only because it presents an immediate juxtaposition between expressive mark making and highly rendered imagery, but also because it shows my own contradictions as an artist. When printing I gravitate toward a limited palette with a very loose, expressive style that is affected by my emotion, and when drawing I use full color with a tight, slowly developing, and realistic technique. I feel the combination of these two contrasting methods adds to the idea of very different parts making up a whole and the unease of seeing those parts combined and exposed.
Each piece of this series has its own distinct layers, physically and metaphorically. The variation in visual representation and content is meant to keep the viewer interested in the works’ individual dialogue as well as the dialogue of the series as a whole. My goal is to create both a pleasing and inviting image, and one that challenges the viewer to find meaning in deciphering the puzzle.