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Over the course of the last year I have been searching for growth both personally and in my work. Last January after a large solo show I sort of "broke." I was working show after show for several years, and when this one wasn't received as well or as quickly as I hoped, I began to question both my process and my paintings. In desperate need of a break I took some time off. The show "Dreamscapes" will be my first since then and in the past year I have been painting, experimenting, messing up, going back to the drawing board, scratching my head and painting some more. I stumbled onto a few new aesthetics that I began to like and explore.
I have always studied women, and the floral component has come to symbolize the female mind, with all of the chaos and beauty it beholds. I began working with stripes and marinating on what they symbolize in our society. What immediately came to mind was structure and imprisonment. Think about it: prisoners wear stripes. They are confined behind bars. I thought about this as it relates to the female experience. I can't speak for other women but I sympathize with this deeply: a yearning to break free of it all while struggling against the imprisonment societal standards have created for us. This juxtaposition of the wildness of the florals against the structure and control of the stripes with the female at the center of the two had me marinating on my own experience as a female and as an artist. I didn't realize this until recently, but for years I've been restrained by a myriad of different voices in my head: collectors, galleries, friends, relatives, social media. I was constantly working while thinking what will people think of these? Will they like them? Will they buy them? I ultimately hung my hat on the acceptance of the viewer rather than myself, the artist. In search of approval I would painstakingly cover every mark I didn't mean to make in pursuit of the "perfect" finished piece. It was exhausting.
I am now beginning to realize that perfection is boring and approval from anyone other than myself is unattainable. I see now that my paintings are a collection of all of my marks, not just the ones I let you see. All of them are important and contribute to the picture as a whole. In life we are a collection of our own marks, both good and bad, intentional and unintentional. We don't get to erase the bad parts only to leave the good (unless you're on social media and that's a whole different rant saved for later). All of our marks have to stay. They record the evolution of our lives, where we've been and what makes us complete. My paintings wouldn't be what they are without each mark I've made in their creation. Consequently, I've decided to leave every pencil line (because yes, how do you think those stripes got to straight?), every drip, splash, fingerprint and smudge that went into the making of these paintings. In my own struggle to find freedom I'm leaving them just the way they are: perfectly imperfect.
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