We all put on facades and are pushed to conform to ideals of the societies around us. As a result, my artwork continues to evolve and change according to my influences and life experiences. In my past work, I have envisioned myself as the heroine or victim of constrained and perplexing narratives. These color-driven alter egos directly and un-apologetically impact the viewer’s space due to the life size scale of their cutout installations. Mimetic oil paint renderings combined with found or constructed three-dimensional elements demand viewers to look more closely at the details of these self-portraits to decipher the truth of the artifice.
With my most recent body of work, I have continued to tease viewers with illusions of paint and mixed media, but on a much smaller scale and with images of others in place of myself. With this series of portraits, I utilize a steam punk aesthetic, metallic surfaces, and three-dimensional elements (such as metal gears, clocks, and clock parts) to portray and expound upon humanity’s superficial qualities – both lavish and gaudy. In “Teatime?” for example, the combination of gold paint, a gold watch, and gold as an intangible epitome of wealth and success introduces a conversation between wandering associations. This forced dialogue acts as a visual metaphor intended to jumble together the viewer’s own hierarchy of values. The resulting small-scale portraits are lavishly framed and require an intimacy of close viewing from the audience that verges on adoration of spiritual or historical icons.
In the design stages of these ‘icons,’ I combine my own reference photos from steam punk festivals with imaginative settings and patterns. Through this intuitive collage and editing process, I invent narrative personas based on my reading of how the subjects chose to present their own identities. These fictitious characters, though garbed in Victorian era fashion, highlight problems present in our world today, such as environmental waste, technology, and the power of the rich one percent. Each whimsical figure therefore pushes the boundaries of time in a combination of two and three dimensions while challenging preconceptions of beauty and morality.