Call for Entries Accepted Artists
Through a series of portraits, self-portraits and still life I examine the experience of living; the events of our lives spanning the years from childhood through maturity. Images that suggest meaning from established cultural symbols and self-developed personal symbolism are arranged into compositions that create a stories where the narrative is left unresolved. The work is very biographical, much of it deals with my own frustrations and struggles, and the frustrations and struggles of those I see around me; friends and family, from all stages of life.
The cryptic yet universal nature of the language of symbols is fascinating. Take an apple, for instance. An apple can mean anything from good health (“an apple a day keeps the doctor away”) or original sin (the temptation of Adam and Eve) to knowledge and science (Sir Isaac Newton and the discovery of gravity). With so many possible interpretations, how do we know what meaning that apple is supposed to have at any given time? The beauty of it is, we don’t know. At least not right away. We have to apply ourselves to think; what is the intended meaning? What is the artist trying to say?
I want viewers to have that interaction. To be engaged with the work, on an intellectual level. To exercise their knowledge, to look at what I am presenting and… to think. All perception of artwork is influenced by the viewer’s personal and cultural points of view. That in itself is not unique to my work. However, I use that to my advantage. I choose to leave the arrangement of my symbols ambiguous. I am interested in providing a framework for the viewer; for them to imagine, contemplate, and draw their own conclusions from the image I have presented.
The emphasis on getting my audience to think about what they are seeing, and to put the story together, does not mean that the work is entirely cerebral. There is a visceral emotional response to the situations and to the way the images are composed. A viewer is either drawn to the strangeness, the incomplete narrative, or repelled by it. Though often the mood of the pieces are dark, they are also beautiful. The way the light falls over the forms, the selective use of color, the arrangement of elements in the composition to achieve a sense of balance. Much of my work makes use of dramatic lighting, or vast blank space with relatively smaller areas of visual concentration. I see beauty in those everyday conflicts and strange, contemporary rites of passage, and convey this through my use of media. The translucency of oils, soft scumbling with acrylics, and distinct use of drawing media for line. If my audience comes away from one of my pieces with the realization that that beauty exists in our struggles and frustrations, then I feel I have achieved something important. Although life can often feel frustrating, and our struggles feel futile… it is not. Nothing is futile where there is beauty.