Sunday, June 20, 2010

The New Studio

I have been missing in action on the blog lately- partly due to procrastination, lack of reliable internet & free time, and general busy-ness. I was wrapped up in preparing for the Somerville Open Studios which meant I took a detour from my usual grand scale paintings to do more small scale landscapes. I planned to return to painting and start a new large series of pieces but instead I ended up having to move studios and contribute to another small show. So instead of new paintings to share, I have some images of my bigger and better studio space. The photo above is the entry space-- I liked how the light came in through the windows and hit the floor. Below is my studio space. I have not settled in yet. I am still figuring out storage and where to put things and eventually I will build walls to separate it from the larger space it is in so it will be more private.

The best part of the space is that it is over 3 times as large as my last space, better maintained, and with much higher ceilings. There are no trees growing out the roof... or faint odor of plumbing issues. I have about 250 square feet now. I had 80 before as illustrated below:

There was barely enough space to turn around or stand up and was probably better suited to a painter of miniatures. The new space costs more but it comes with better facilities, common areas, a rooftop deck, parking, community. I'm eager to get started on a new bunch of paintings & drawings. I'm in the process of planning them out now.

Also since I have been a bit behind on things I have not posted my latest big drawing (about 3x4 feet). Right now I call it "Nearby Distance" which still could change. It is another work where I try to play with mental and physical geography. The left half of the drawing is Los Angeles, the right have is the woods of New England. It is about how people can be connected even when physically apart. Even though the drawing rearranges geography and shows figures near each other- it implies an emotional distance between them that may be even more difficult to cross than the physical distance between the east & west coasts.

I'm also making more of an effort to include men in my paintings. I haven't included them very often for several reasons. Most of my paintings are a form self portraits that come from my own experiences. When I visualize things, I don't see men. It doesn't make sense in context with the ideas in my head. Substituting a man for a woman would change the meaning drastically and would raise a completely different set of issues than what I intend. When I really started painting heavily (beyond just college) I started with a series that explored vulnerability. It was ultimately about being alone in a big city... as a woman. For me the "woman" part went without saying, it was just a given since I am a woman.* Those paintings worked better with women since society sees them as "vulnerable." A man walks alone in the woods- so what. A woman does the same and she is told that is too dangerous. So swapping the figure with a man would change the meaning.

Even now that my paintings are not as much about vulnerability and have more mysterious narratives- it would still change the meaning to have a man. These days when I paint figures, the women often exist in their own internal worlds. With multiple women in one painting, I often see them as different aspects of the same person, even if their physical appearances are not the same. So including a man would feel like an intrusion of sorts. Or the painting would become more about a relationship between a man and a woman instead of a portrait of single person's internal world. Once it becomes about two characters I worry that a painting/drawing becomes even more narrative perhaps inches closer to illustration. However, I have decided to question my instinct to only use women and try to change things up without getting too far from my artistic voice. I This drawing is my first attempt, and I am working on some other ideas as well. I will probably also turn this drawing into a painting as well because I think it would be more successful in color.

*But I feel I don't need to explain that when I talk about my paintings I am now because people always ask why I paint women and I admit it is frustrating since I don't think it needs explaining.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I really like the thought process behind your penchant for women in your work. Really interesting perspective.