Artists Statement: Therese Conte
My work is informed by my exploration into the development of the social presence of women. That men look at women, while women watch themselves being looked at, puts women in the dual role of surveyor and surveyed, of object and prey This duality distorts a woman’s most important relationship, that with herself.
Gender stereotypes in media, along with the historical representations of the feminine in literature, have shaped the way women and girls present themselves. Though I allude to my own life experiences, I approach social issues through the use of individuals that populate my life transformed into broader themes such as feminism, ageism, cultural stereotypes, gender roles and sexuality spoken in the visual language of figurative painting and drawing.
I work from life and from my own photographs. These references become a vehicle to express ideas and emotions with fragments of personal narrative. I am drawn to the visceral and fluid quality of oil paint on canvas moving from staining and glazing to impasto; from broad loose strokes to rendering detail. Drawing is an important part of the art making process, not only for preliminary studies, but also as finished pieces. The imagery can range from ambiguous narratives to fragmented female figures in vague decontextualized spaces.
For me, these subjects are sublime, rewarding and worthy of investigation. I hope my work invites introspection about the viewers’ own ideas and emotions surrounding this conversation.