When I first start I usually work in a series and so the smaller pieces were a result of working off of the larger pieces. This was actually the first in the series “Obscura” and I was working with obfuscation of the female face. I started thinking about censorship and obviously going with identifying factors of the female gender. But then when you thinking about what is most identifying on any person it is their face.
Back to “Divest”, I was basically playing off “Obscura”, but now just focusing in on the face and the few identifying pieces of the female form. You can still definitely identify the female form yet once again the most identifying features of her, which are her facial features, are obscured. My work gets very political and very much in to feminist thought with what is going on in America with politics and women’s rights and often times I feel like women in general get labeled as one thing, but individually they all have something different to say, so I decided to obscure each face in a s different manner -for different identities.
Did their personality play a role in the way that you obscured their face?
Actually, I use my models to create self portraits, but instead of using my likeness I use the likeness of my models. I try to use a different model or a different pose of the same model using one model many times.
When you say they are self portraits, they are a portrait of you using a model?
Yes, conceptually. I think of all of my work as a self portrait because it stems from how I am feeling
Right, but all of the models that I use have similar views as me, but their story might be different. For example, this one with the orchid, it just so happens that she loves orchids, which I found out after the fact. This has obvious symbolism with the flower. A lot of my political leanings stem from reproductive freedom and what is going on in the political climate right now. This is even before the current election. It has been going on for a very long time
It is a lot better than it was in the 60s, but it is still a problem.
The fact that we still have to address it is very frustrating. And that goes back into history with voting rights and the time line. When I am working in a series like this, it is all different ways of obscuring the face and I do like to put, like over here with “Chloris”, I like to start getting more of that symbolism and really talking about reproductive rights with that. I paint in a manner that, if you don’t know what my conceptual leanings are you might still like the work without having it be subversive with flowers and things like that.
It would be hard to miss some of it
Depending on who the audience is and usually the audience of people who come in to look at art do really think about it. But I do want the viewer to stop and ask the question -“what is going on?” And it might be a different conclusion for one viewer then another and that is why I paint in that manner. People can come to there own conclusions.
How do you start to choose- like this one, her face isn’t really obscure, how do you move in to that and those kind of choices?
It takes a lot of thinking before I start painting. I don’t just start painting and then see what happens. Everything is very meticulously planned out. I usually refer back to sketch books that I have written down ideas for a certain period of time and I just choose one. I usually get ideas when I am driving or when I am thinking right before I go to bed and I just sketch them down and go through them later. It is great when I see that I have a multitude of ideas and compositions to pick from and then I go from there.
How do you decide how you are going to approach the female body?
If you look back on the history of art, it is predominately white, European males painted in a certain manner
Right, this obviously references many different periods, such a Dutch painting. There are many different things you can pull from that, but this is my model -it just happened that I was working with obscuring the face, this just worked out when we were doing the poses. Then I really started thinking about medium. I use oil paint, I could just as easily do photography and have the same concept, but I choose to do painting and that is a commentary on the medium and its history especially regarding how woman have been portrayed throughout history in art, in religion. I can get very conceptual.
Do you think the use of the body with full frontal nudity has intention?