The formal and conceptual concerns that have driven
my recent work are quite straight-forward.
My interest is in the connection between painting
and photography, and how changes in technology alter and, in
turn, shape our understanding of the world and the way in which
we make images in general and paintings in particular. I am
interested in using the camera as a tool in making a painting
where the photograph- rather than the thing depicted- becomes
Why make paintings if my interest is in photographic
images? The paintings are dependant on photography for their
existence but would be very different as photographs. Photography,
as a medium, would not allow me to make the images as large
as I felt they needed to be to have real impact and would limit
greatly the surface interest that I enjoy exploring through
my work. Each of my solo shows has included the word surface
in the title, in fact, not so much in reference to the surface
of water (Water Series from Surfaces 2006) or the notion
that we invite others to examine our surface/image
through self-publishing (Surface/Image 2008) but to draw
attention to the surface of the canvas; to stress the importance
of painting being about applying pigment to a flat surface in
interesting ways. I enjoy a painting that the viewer both looks
through, in a photo-realistic sense and looks at, in terms on
examining the formal qualities of the actual paint and how it
is applied. The juxtaposition of enjoying the photographic likeness
while being constantly pulled back to noticing the non-objective
application of the pigment itself is an important aspect of
The Surface/Image series was begun in 2006
through an Artsnb creation grant. My interest in this series
is in how changes in technology are dramatically changing the
way that people are taking photographs and in the impact of
this revolution in photography on portrait painting. Young people,
in particular, are snapping hundreds of shots very quickly,
at unusual angles, and in different lighting situations, without
planning, wherever they happen to be. There is a huge amount
of editing; only the most interesting or most expressive of
their desired image are saved and posted on self-publishing
sites such as Facebook. The resulting photographs are
becoming a very important vehicle for self-expression: a modern
sort of diary, documenting the growth and development of these
young people. The photographic references are from pictures
that my high school students have taken of themselves using
simple, hand-held digital cameras and the paintings are clearly
referenced from photographs, rather than from direct observation.
Some are from black and white or colour-enhanced images and
may include reflections or shadows of the photographer, out
of focus areas or motion blur, clearly defining them as photographic.
I hope my viewers will begin to think about how
we create an image for ourselves and use it for
communication, and for socialization, and how much information
a visual image of our surface appearance can convey.
My interest in questioning what is real, begun in
the Water Series, continues with the Surface/Image portraits.
In thinking about the notion of reality versus perception, Im
reminded of hearing of a parent who, upon being told she had
a beautiful child said, You think he is beautiful- you
should see his photograph!
I Dont Know Anything about Art. I Just
Want Something Nice to Hang Over My Sofa to Match My Living
This work attempts to address postmodern issues
of elitism, originality, and authenticity in this digital age
when consumers buy their art at the same places they buy their
groceries and underwear, and to raise these questions with humour,
irony, parody, and paradox. The idea for this work came to me
when my mom made the statement that has become the title of
this show, I Dont Know Anything about Art. I Just Want
Something Nice to Hang Over My Sofa to Match My Living Room.
So I started by painting an image of her sofa which I then hung
over it and painted a painting of it and so on until the paintings
of the paintings got so tiny that I couldnt see them anymore.
The rest of the work grew from there and is all about starting
a dialogue about the idea of being a consumer of art.
Postmodern art often reacts against elitist, avant
garde art that is accessible to a very small entitled audience
and that makes the rest of us feel left out when we dont
get it. In pieces like This is a painting This is
a pillow I wanted the viewer to realize they really are the
same thing- some paint on a piece of cloth- so why, then, is
the painting all precious and mysterious whole the pillow is
just a common object?
In another pairing, two identical canvases proclaim,
This is Art and This is craft. The first piece has painted text
and the second is embroidered.
Some pieces raises issues about originality and
authenticity: in the Real Winners series I put real paint over
big box store giclee prints to turn them into real
The most recent pieces in this series have been
made over fabric stretchers and come with a matching pillow,
some of which have been created over water resistant fabrics
intended to be hung outdoors. Many have the commercial paint
colours listed on the back so the consumer can match the paint
colours to their space. In fact, customized spin
paintings made on a pottery wheel are available to be created
in commercial house paint colours selected by the consumer.
Instead of trying hard to make art that matters this time, I
have really enjoyed making this SCAM- by Shamelessly Creating
Art that Matches.
This work was made possible through an ArtsNB