Words and images are the two main ways we communicate and understand the world around us. In these paintings I explore the interplay of words and images in an effort to understand both the innate tension that exists between these two methods of defining and recording ideas, and the bond that they can create with intellect and sensation.
Art,life, free, safe:-these are words we use to express ideas and concepts. They have definitions, found in a dictionary, but is this really all they can mean? I decided to use only 3- or 4-letter words, because I found that the shortest words held the most concentrated ideas. The title of the series is a reflection on the often derogatory way the word “art” is used. I inscribed them in a basic stencil font on a standard card label which could then be hung on an object.
Images resonate in a much more varied way than words. Forms, colors, shapes echo inside our heads and bring forth a multitude of reactions. We respond with attention, surprise or interest, or we are disturbed, turned-off, distressed.
Words and images together are a powerful combination. They can support each other, reinforce feelings and ideas, or they can crack them open and let slivers of illumination or darkness enter into our preconceptions.
As well as common objects found in my home, I also used an artist’s mannequin to create an alter-ego in these works, a stand-in for myself, or the viewer.
Pushing and exploring the boundaries of watercolor technique, I have deliberately simplified these still-life compositions using flattened and luminous color to create an image that is both engaging and sometimes startling. The shadows the objects create are as important as the objects themselves, and they echo the hidden meanings that a word or image can contain.
Although these paintings might seem to be just about generalized concepts, many of them are also extremely personal, exploring issues ranging from childhood phobias to current art trends. mMny also express my disgust with the commodification of art
My intent with this work is to inspect the associations we have with words and images in a critical and humorous manner engaging both our emotions and our intellect, and to hold up for examination the human condition.