As an artist I am inspired to respond to experiences of conditioning by composing works of art which highlight emotions associated with them – in this event, the fear of imperfection, becoming invisible, and of getting hurt through vulnerability. It is my hope that the poetically psychological, and tangible components found in my work elicit compassion concerning the internal lives and paths of women. Through these components, I acknowledge self-worth issues as a departure point for confronting it, illuminating it, so that it can transcend to a positive construct. My work serves as a visual demonstration to find pleasure in becoming and retaining femininity while blending it with strength so that the reflection of self can take place and all of humanity may be seen. Edith Wharton once said, “there are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it”.
My interest in the feminine started in childhood playing with my grandmother’s lipsticks, rouge, gloves, stockings, and calling cards. Drinking tea from demitasse cups, flipping through pages of vintage magazines, and stitching on silk. I was enamored. I imagined the past and future, craved being feminine, and cherished these things beyond belief. Not only that, my grandmother’s vanity was a wondrous place filled with mysterious objects and magical cosmetic potions. An entire life could take place there from beginning to end.
Reflecting stories of women entwined with my own, works use the dressing table and looking glass in metaphor as a way to investigate what it means to be female and feminine. What emerges is an awareness that the approach to the dressing table can be emotional. Conceptually contemplating the practices to which one clings or repels upon the approach, is moving. Through the exploration of rituals intricacies of being female are revealed: our complex relationship with appearance, adornment, and identity; the way we shape ourselves; our search for a sense of self; the pleasure of feeling pretty; the pain of feeling ugly; and the freedom that comes with accepting oneself.
I create canvases with deconstructed garments from my wardrobe and vintage collection. My work relies on garments, clothing, textiles literally for the grounds on which I paint but also inspiration comes from fashion history. Not only that, conceptually clothing, one's relationships with it, employment of it for expression, fuels underlying meanings/ storylines in my work. I compose with garments' contours and textures in an act of liberation to reshape moods, remember experiences, and reveal intimate emotions. Emotive paint application is then applied enhancing the surfaces. There is much pleasure in the process of destruction followed by mending, piecing together again. Clothes are turned inside out. It’s said that self-awareness occurs is when the inner and outer self collide. This work practice metaphorically exemplifies that concept.
My work illuminates softness, femininity as a source of strength. Investigating character and inward beauty, I search for the authentic self of the person and ways to portray it. As the divide between gender roles narrows and society evolves, my aim is to honor femininity and influential females who came before. Learning their stories instills me with strength and a passion for revealing their internal power. May this visual dialogue, encourage reflection upon the journeys of women and present a platform where the feminine can safely say “I thought I was the only one to feel like that”.
As a process driven artist, with a passion for painting and surface enhancement, textiles provide stimulus for current paintings which are on canvases made of deconstructed garments selected from my wardrobe and vintage collection. Emerging is a visual dialogue evoking human presence aimed at illuminating vulnerability as a source of strength and exemplifying an authentic, empowered form of beauty inspired by injury. The destruction elicits this when the clothing is gifted new life once mended, becoming low-relief grounds for emotive paint application. Composing with textures and contours, this meditative practice provides a pathway to understanding emotions enabling me to remember experiences and reveal intimate sentiments too challenging for words. There’s much fulfillment in the process: deconstruction followed by mending, recreation, and piecing back together again. Throughout the pandemic the correlation between this ‘damage to revitalization’ work process and the human condition has lead me to a deeper understanding of a universally shared need for support, of which I remain mindful of.
LIFE IN GARMENTS, 2020-2021 Curatorial Exhibit Descriptor
LIFE IN GARMENTS is a collection of paintings on canvases made of assemblaged garment pieces and textile remnants that display poetic narratives of life and the human condition. The series in this body of work address what’s at the core of humanity – individual evolution and empowerment.
It’s this deeper study that drives my desire to illuminate vulnerability and portray it as a source of strength.