Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What the Heck am I Trying to Say?

I recently re-worked my artist statement, a challenge for all visual artists, but an important process as well. If we, as artists don't know what we're talking about who does?

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to relate specific pieces to different parts of my artist statement to see where I'm exploring what topic. I've done it here with work specifically that will be in the Figurative Group Show at Peterson-Cody Gallery in Santa Fe, NM, February 2011.

Using the human figure and still life objects I consider intangibles, challenging myself to capture small nuance in relationships, life, death,  and love. Much of my work is about transitions, whether it is a midlife juncture or coming of age as a universal truth. These paintings are decisions reflected and possibilities contemplated

(As in "Near at Hand", I'm dealing with symbolic walls that can appear in relationships or in "On With the Show" I was thinking about the continuum of time, the birds are flying into and out of the painting suggesting that the show must go on, WE must press on, as surely as time passes this too shall pass.)  
 I’m intrigued by the idea of a work of art looking like an old master’s painting but with a contemporary edge, as an artist I want to be a filter for the time I live in. 

(In "The Ascent", the figures are very classically rendered however the ladder is a modern aluminum one, or "Call of Duty", which has the feel of a Renaissance portrait but the imagery from Superman comics, my red haired model in "Dreams of Flying" brings to mind a Botticelli Venus but with the addition of the airplane there is no mistaking her for one) 
I’m frequently inspired by fairy tales, superheroes, or works of literature, and reexamine them in a contemporary way. Mythical characters may become a device to explore our responses to modern day situations, for example Superman becomes a symbol for the mighty dreams each of us hold close to our chests. 

(As in "The Call of Duty" and "If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On" which has it's title from the first line of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night play)
Recurring themes, of flying and birds, have been turning up in my work, kind of a surprise personal imagery and that I was not conscious of adding. My paintings are so long in the works that I'm delighted when I discover a surprise such as this.

1 comment:

  1. Terry, I'm stunned by the quality of your work, both the technique and the emotional content. You bring it all together. Thanks for sharing the thinking behind your artist's statement. Wish I could make that Santa Fe show. It's nice to see a critical mass of skilled figurative painters out there.



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