Charcoal on Bristol Paper
14 x 11"
Artist’s Statement, January 2010
I have a busy brain, and I’m sensitive to body language, facial expressions, and other non-verbal clues about people. I tend to analyse everyone, looking for a story in their faces. The portraits and figure paintings I create are the result of the fascination I have with wordless storytelling.
The “widescreen portraits” are inspired by what I call “painterly films” such as The Piano, The English Patient, and Finding Neverland, which I find visually fascinating. I’m intrigued by the cropping and camera angles that create dynamic compositions, which when viewed as a still, speak of unseen drama and the bigger picture we can’t see.
When I paint nudes, I’m looking for what the body will tell me—about the individual in front of me, and of the human experience we all share. I’m also looking for the things I’m not supposed to know, the things we cover up. I enjoy the polarity of raw markmaking and carefully finished details, as an expression of the duality of primal energy and conscious control. These marks create the sensation of movement and stillness in the same person, on the same canvas.
Lately, I have been working with costumes, wigs, and make-up. The idea of partially revealing what is beneath the surface of things is continued in this series, using props to more literally disguise/reveal the real person. I wanted to capture a person in the act of applying or removing the disguise, or the private moment of doubt before “the show.”