I am a representational painter and draughtswoman who makes art about humanity and grace. I work primarily from life and the human figure in oil, pencil and charcoal. I am part of an oral and visual tradition that has been passed down from teacher to student for 500 years, from the Carracci family forward.
I am fascinated by bodies. Our bodies tell stories, stories about where we’ve been and where we’re going. I explore the human body as a vehicle for unspoken narrative, for the deepest tales that we never tell each other. Our bodies never forget. My own body has been through trauma, abuse, chronic pain, mental illness and disability. Those stories live in the spaces between my cells, like all our stories do.
We are fragile yet resilient.
Aristotle wrote of mimesis and the idea that you can understand the truth of something through deeply understanding its appearance and its reality. Mimesis is not to merely copy or imitate, but it is to represent and that by engaging in the act of representation, you can come to deeper truths about what you’re representing.
There is power in witnessing the story of someone’s body, in representing the truth of their form. Even surfaces have stories to tell; their contours tells us of the world that lies beneath.
In a world often viewed and assimilated by means of camera lens, filters and Photoshop, how often do we truly see and understand what we’re looking at? How often do we engage with the truth of what surrounds us? How often do we engage with the truth of who surrounds us?
I want to tell the stories of bodies from every walk of life. We are presented daily with a relentlessly homogenous view of the perfect human body – preferably thin, white, young and female – as though that is the only body-story worth telling. As though no other stories matter.
But all our stories matter. Our stories connect us, even our unspoken ones. Perhaps especially our unspoken ones.
By creating primarily from life, and not photos, a deeper connection is forged between the artist and subject. It becomes a tale told over hours and days, not seconds.
My training emphasized truthful seeing and humanity over all else, by teaching principles of physical empathy, grace, organic form, construction and the physics of light. Viewing the body through this lens creates a deeper understanding of the physical story in front of you.