Through my most recent series I am attempting to examine and process my own feelings of self doubt. The painting above is entitled Don't Trust Reality, and references my ongoing internal dialogue as well as the physical process of making.
The first phase of making these portraits begins with a pointillist accumulation of stamped phrases (the phrase in this piece is Don't Trust Reality - hence the title). Each of these stamps was selected bought from a craft store. The humor of finding these sardonic sayings imprinted on mass-produced rubber stamps wasn't lost on me. Finding a stamp that read 'born loser' on a shelf next to a 'happy birthday' stamp with teddy bears was irresistible. I had to have it! (I digress...)
Using this conglomeration of words as a base, I draw and paint over the top of them - hiding, then revealing - searching and discovering.The resulting portraits reveal only a glimpse of the underlying substructure. The process of finding my own image among these words - words that frighten me, that I think to myself when I feel most lost - is a daunting but rewarding task.
This body of work is my way of working through the darkness and uncertainty, to find the strength and the will to get into my studio, take a deep breath, and get on with it.
In August 2011, holding the signs pictured above, I went to Millennium Park in downtown Chicago to invite strangers to share a part of their lives with me. Throughout my conversations with the people I met, I took multiple still images of them with my digital camera. I wanted to use the photographs as reference material for portraits illustrating the shifts in each person's facial expressions and/or body language. I was interested in examining these subtleties as a mechanism for revealing each subject's unique physical and psychological signatures. As a study of motion and form, this project was appealing; as a study of humanity--delightfully surprising.
It was a unique experience, and I anticipate this impromptu-style of portraiture will make its way back into my practice soon.
As this project grew, it resulted in my MFA thesis exhibition: Tell Me About It for Art. I have included installation shots from this exhibition below; individual images can be found under '2011 - 2012'