Throughout my painting career I have pivoted back and forth between figurative and abstract work. Each time I make the switch it feels abrupt, and yet increasingly I see the cross-pollination between the two disciplines. After the 2016 election I switched from decorative abstraction to self-portraits, as a response to the intense emotions I was feeling every day. Late last year I just could not look in the mirror anymore, so I began making these small gouache panels. I can make them in a single session, in my kitchen/studio, and they take me out of myself and bring me joy. I honestly expected these to be a brief diversion from my “real” work, but they have become the real work.
I have a deep and abiding interest in process-driven work, from mandalas and yantras to Aboriginal song-line paintings, Islamic tiles, and the Pattern and Decoration movement. I was thrilled to see a show of P&D work at LA MoCA just before lockdown. The P&D movement interests me in particular since it was a female-driven movement using the materials and techniques of traditional “women’s work” at a time when the art world was dominated by the extreme masculinity of minimalism. I also draw inspiration from spiritualists such as Emma Kunz, Hilma af Klint, Agnes Pelton, early Kandinsky, and more recently contemporaries such as Lori Ellison, Dan Zeller and James Siena. Perhaps the through-line is my need to create my own internal order within the chaos outside my head.
I am also interested in ‘hand’, in the tension between lyrical gesture and tightly controlled patterning. Nothing is sketched out in advance, ruled, or measured, it’s all intuitive. I start with an image in my head, or a thought of a color, and build from there. I’m not looking for hard edges or precise symmetry. I’m interested in movement, pattern, density, and perhaps above all the tension of color relationships. I embrace visceral, unapologetic beauty that does not require explanation. The layering I’m doing right now feels like it grew out of the self-portrait weaving process, while also hearkening back to some of the vocabulary of my previous abstractions. When I return to the figure as I can only assume I eventually will, it will be interesting to see how this current work carries over.
As a celebration that 2020 has ended and that a new year is here, FLATFILE has launched a new online program title, simply: “2021.”
We invited artists to participate through a rolling open call, which remains open for the entirety of this year. From these submissions, our jury panel carefully selects new works to present on FLATFILE, with new works added throughout all of 2021.
The price of each artwork is a flat $2,021,
a discounted price from the actual value of each work, offered here, exclusively.