Subtle feelings of connection and isolation are the basis of my work. I'm trying to convey the unnameable complicated emotions people feel in their daily lives, using surface qualities like opalescence and sheen. These kinds of gleaming delicate colors express my characters’ moods, their flickering moment-to-moment psychology, their sense of themselves-- which is always changing. No one is ever truly characterized by a single emotion. Likewise in art history, style is seldom fixed or pure. I combine elements of academic romanticism and expressionism to give the social situations that I depict—usually groups of women my age-- a psychological complexity that feels authentic to me.
"Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot," said Charlie Chaplin. So, since we are all constantly moving from near to far, life is both tragic and comic. That is how I feel, and how I want my paintings to feel. As Instagram continually reminds us, life has many pleasant moments. But often, in the middle of such moments, we feel alone. Have you ever been lost while listening to your friends talk? Fleetingly or deeply, we all have those feelings. I try to capture and explore them in my paintings.
In "Three panels study 1," several young apparently happy women are shown together against a nearly blank abstract background. Two of them are joyously kissing the woman in the center. But the central figure is not responding. She is lost in thought, alone within herself. As I work, I imagine an inner voice for each character. Woman 1 might be saying, “When do I get home?”
Group portraits have a long history, and I am inspired by many great predecessors, from the Le Nain brothers in seventeenth century France, to Alice Neel, whose sitters are surrounded by beautiful painterly auras. Like Neel’s. my palette is generally bright but highly variable. shifting from dark and depressing in some areas to overcharged, almost manic color in others. I hope that my paintings allow viewers who feel challenged in their daily lives to recognize themselves, and take pleasure in seeing their own most private and subtle emotions affirmed and made beautiful.