The studio is full of props. I collect skulls, taxidermy, ribbons, fabric, vintage photographs and paper ephemera. I organize these objects and stage compositions.
I create abstract pictures and portraits, large and small, to add to the still life objects staged in space. My recent work features both acrylic prop-paintings and miniature gouache paintings informed by the arrangements of these props.
The miniature gouache paintings depict pictures of pictures or salon images. These pictures are derived from a fascination with Vanitas still life, cabinets of curiosity, and paintings of paintings ranging from Matisse's Red Studio to David Teniers' depictions of the collection of Archduke Leopold of Austria. I am interested in how paintings retain their relevance by taking on ideas of death of painting or a kind of comedic curation-as-painting.
The prop paintings are primarily abstract, though some are awkward genre pictures, ham-fisted portraits and sometimes landscapes. I confront the doubt so prevalent in painting by channeling the narrative content of my work through a distended process of accumulating not only imagery but multiple surfaces and frames within the one composition.
Over the past year I have dedicated myself to a series of arrangements of paintings in space. I lean pictures on top of one another, hide one patterned canvas beneath another laden with similarly heavy pattern, or stack pictures on top of painted rugs. I have made hide rugs and begun to make wall treatments, all hand painted. In addition to rugs and patterned works I include portraits, floral flights of fancy, images reminiscent of sweaters, color wheels, or Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs. There is a kind of demented devotion to hand painting every last detail.
In my most recent installation, the Pattern Room, the hand-painted props have overtaken a wall in pattern and sweetness. Each gridded canvas is meant to evoke a sweater pattern or embroidery. I reintroduce the traditionally feminine lap-crafted originals as less diminutive cherished objects and more a billboard for the feeling of a handmade and intimate craft, here restaged in paint. The girlish whimsy of pinks and saccharine decorative marks gives way to sardonic text and lonely pinups and portraits. I want to both overwhelm and overfeed with sweetness and also quietly chastise that impulse and its attendant guilt. I’m hoping for a kind of stifling, claustrophobic saccharine space, intimating that maturing into my gendered role was not all I’d hoped for or all I was promised.