Cement is my muse. I paint portraits of concrete blocks, cinder block walls, and cement in acrylic on silk. My fascination with cinder blocks came one afternoon while working in a basement studio. Suddenly aware of the paint-splattered walls, I fell in love with the pits and scratches and ill-applied mortar. The studio walls gave evidence of my years spent in that basement: a diary. Why not let cinder blocks tell my story?
The challenge to paint convincing cinder blocks took me six months of experimenting to solve. Silk charmeuse is my substrate. Because its surface is smooth, the illusion of cement is not compromised by the texture of canvas. I incorporate brushes, rubbing, and spray paint to transform the luxurious fabric into concrete. No computer, printing, silk screen, or photographic techniques are used. The painted silk is affixed to hardboard cut to the exact shape of the cinder block.
The process begins with two questions: “What do I wish to say?” followed by “How can concrete narrate the story?” Whether individually or in flocks, my cinder blocks endeavor to elicit a reaction, initiate a conversation, and establish empathy with the viewer. My concrete alter ego is less self-conscious, so honesty comes more easily. A life story told in the language of cement.
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