Myths and Messengers
Painting allows Porterfield to bring organization to situations she perceives as overwhelming. Space, form and line are tools she uses to bring unity to the conflicted worlds she is compelled to depict. She often reference acts of nature to represent situations that are out of control, both literally and figuratively.
Her Catholic upbringing, symbolized through overpowering landscapes, has been a particular influence on her work. Sweeping vistas, geysers and volcanic eruptions are comprised of religious paradigms and saints, who completed seemingly heroic acts by giving unconditionally. Multi-figured narratives and metaphors depict her struggle to balance these ideals with the need to nurture oneself. She juxtaposes layered allegories in an attempt to ask and resolve: Does it take more courage to be selfless or self-seeking? Is being meek a sign of weakness or strength? Is it wrong to doubt religious ideals or is it admirable? Through the dichotomous nature of the work, her intention is to create a metaphysical discussion regarding the struggle to live a compassionate life.