Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 139: Artist Statement

Hello all, I realized that I never posted my artist statement, so here it is for those who are curious

Born a Quaker, I learned to listen in silence, to appreciate questions and to follow intuition and inspiration. Making art is a similar open gesture of the mind. In my daily life I listen with all my senses. As ideas or images persist, I develop them into works of art, the meaning evolving throughout the creation.

Following my interest in mythology, I was compelled to draw a series of larger than life size self portraits as mythological women. Through these works I discovered powerful paradoxes of emotion and perception. Medusa became more enthralling when she was rendered grotesque. Delilah’s betrayal of Samson made her more appealing. Penelope’s despair was compelling. I also discovered the power of ordinary objects to assume symbolic power. A pair of scissors came to represent Delilah’s shame; a dog toy, Medusa’s powerlessness; a boat, Penelope’s yearning.

In my next series, I used collage and painting to continue exploring the concept of the potential magic in the ordinary. I sought to elevate the adventures of my daily life into epic occasions by adding unexpected details into each scene. Sharks float in a sky of clouds; antelopes kiss at sunset; whales stand on a beach. The surreal aspects of these works add mystery, inviting the viewer to imagine the surrounding mythology. I became interested in how communities form around a shared mythology.

Through this discovery I began an exploration of performance art, creating rituals aimed at recognizing the monumental undertones of everyday existence. Most recently I appointed Ambassadors of Color. Ten different people picked their favorite color, and each underwent a ritualized hair dyeing. Easy to spot, the bright-haired ambassadors advocated for their color, noticed it, loved it, and spread it. From this performance art ritual, communities formed around a shared mythology.

As Ambassador of Orange, my ceremonial transformation inspired reverence for all things orange: a pumpkin was sacred, a traffic cone beautiful. Despite my changed perceptions, many events of my life were unaltered. The clothes still needed washing, my teeth still needed brushing. This inspired a series of paintings of the orange-haired hero performing her daily rituals. Through these paintings, I discovered the ability of a performance to transcend the moment of its occurrence, to grow and develop. A series of paintings could relate the experience and even inspire future Ambassadors of Color.

Performance art has been a presence in the art world from early works such as Hugo Ball's Dadaist costumed reading of Karawane to the installation-performance The Collectors by Elmgreen & Dragset at this summer’s Venice Biennale. An article in Art News last June argued that while performance art has the capacity to rouse and incorporate the viewer, there is no way to faithfully document it; once over, the work ceases to be. Through my work at Gallerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris, I became familiar with the work of Sophie Calle, an artist who combines ritual, performance and documentation. Although her work faithfully recounts the events of her performances, they appear more as evidence of a happening than as its continuation.

By combining performance work with painting and drawing, I seek to creatively prolong a performance beyond the event and allow for its perpetuation and evolution.

Keep an eye out for my story board tonight!

1 comment:

  1. It's always interesting to read other artist statements. Often the life path is so similar. For me color is important. As being synesthete I live a life in colors. Synesthesia means that I see colors when I see words and numbers.I transform this in paintings of names and birthdays.