The painters with whom I share a larger space each personalize their individual spots, something I noticed one day while working alone. I then realized that I hardly ever saw the woman who used the space directly across from me. Every day I would come in and see new work or progress made, but hardly ever saw the artist at work. At the same time, all the things in her space suggested her presence, especially her self-portraits. She was there, but absent at the same time.
When I would go home at the end of the day, I was alone again. I spend a lot of time in living spaces with no one living in them besides myself, looking at empty chairs every day, the absence becoming a presence in itself.
These experiences have heavily influenced my current body of work, which looks at the spaces in which people live and explores the ways in which people affect those spaces, and how the spaces reflect the people living in them.
In the past I have worked primarily in the figure, fixating on it to the point where it dominated my surfaces, overpowering everything else, until I eventually realized that I was losing so much through this narrow focus, that I completely laid the figure to the side, putting it to bed until I had learned what I could do without it. Slowly but surely the figure is returning, informing my work in new ways.
As a painter, I work primarily in oil and gouache. I love oil for its texture, the way looking at an oil painting makes me want to touch it and know how it feels. I want my paintings to seem touchable, for the brush strokes to stand out and show my hand. Gouache doesn’t let me do this, it’s not meant to be applied thickly like oil, and as such lacks the more tactile qualities of oil paint.
I also enjoy oil for its ability to let light through, how it lets me build layers that still let light through to bring out what’s underneath. Gouache is much more matte, and while I can still layer it, the light of oil isn’t there, the color is much more flat. In return, gouache dries faster, and give off the softness of watercolor while giving more body, letting me layer and take away, revealing the passage of time. Each medium has its strengths, and I choose between the two based on what will serve the subject best. Sometimes I miss the qualities of one over the other and ultimately I believe that’s what drives me to paint over any other artistic practice— the longing to pick up a brush and put down some paint.