This is my most recent 36×48” painting. It’s untitled, but hopefully that will change soon. This piece is highly personal, as my mentor has urged me to constrain my scope of vision in preparation for my thesis. My studio work of late has shifted to focus on the core of my artistic practice. More specifically; the revelation that my art stems, is fueled by, and thrives on my clinically high level of anxiety. It made sense to address an intensely personal aspect of my life that generally remains undisclosed, and therefore, undiscussed.
The scale is perhaps the most initially striking aspect, and is executed horizontally; the way that humans rest. The piece’s central focus is a closely cropped image of the sleeping face of an unidentified subject. The size is intended to provoke initial interest in the viewer, while setting the tone for the magnitude of the image’s metaphorical weight. The sitter is clearly at rest as her eyes are closed and her expression neutral. It is important that the subject was asleep for this piece, as it is arguably the most vulnerable position that a person can find themselves in. The subject is the image of a woman with whom I had a relationship with. While this is an important fact, she is not intended to be the viewer’s sole focus. She acts less individually, and more as a vehicle for addressing issues relevant to my life. The anxiety in this instance stems not from the image of her, but from the conversations that will be ignited when this piece hangs on the wall for all to see.
The anxiety stems from the acknowledgement of my role in the ongoing conversations about same-sex couples. I avoid discussing this piece of my life due to the desire to avoid labels or categories that seek to further define individuals. There is a certain lack of control that exists in the way others perceive your existence as both human and artist. This highly intimate moment is cropped and magnified in a way that retains the sensitivity of the photo from which it originated, while simultaneously magnifies an inescapable aspect of my life. The painting is literally larger than life, and puts personal details about my romantic relationships on display and up for discussion; something I seldom do in my life outside the studio. The anxiety seeps into this discussion as it opens the lines of communication that can invite negative criticism, thoughts, or judgements. The piece elicits feelings of vulnerability, and vulnerability feeds the anxiety. Inescapable is a word I feel is appropriate which is why I chose to create a highly personal moment on this scale. It is a confrontation with this facet of my life in a poignant, yet subtle way while leaving the anonymous subject and her role open to the audience’s interpretation.