I am most known for my brightly colored animal paintings that tend to be whimsical and very upbeat. There is another side to my artwork, however, that totally surprises people who are accustomed only to the more cheery side.
I have also created collages and assemblages that take a much more serious tone. They are expressive and make an attempt to put form to ideas, concerns and sometimes feeling of distress.
My sister calls them my “bad mood paintings” as the subject matter is not pleasant and my color choices are discordant.
Some are very personal. Some address serious issues facing our society.
I don’t always share them with a broad public, because they can stir debate and controversy that conflicts with the “brand” I have developed around my pet themed work. I do bring them out, however, when a proper context for them presents itself.
The “Uncensored” juried exhibit at Anderson Creative Gallery is one such context.
The show commemorates National Anti-Censorship Month and purposefully courts controversy, seeking to show pieces that both provoke and explore themes that are unsettling.
I had two pieces selected for the show. The pices are shown below with words are from the Artist Statement I wrote to accompany the pieces.
The colors are dark and graphic; the subject matter painful and challenging; the words reflect a time in our history where ignorance and hubris prevailed to the detriment of soldiers and innocent civilians around the world.
These collage/assemblage pieces are perhaps the most expressive pieces I have ever made, and the most graphic in their depiction of how I was affected by current events at the time.
“Game of the Century” puts a visual form to the lyrics of the song “Our Deliverance” by Emily Saliers, reflecting how power brokers make decisions about soldiers’ lives in the same way that a football coach maps out plays on a chalkboard.
“Government Whitewash” is perhaps the ugliest artwork that I have ever created. That is because it is about the ugliest thing I have ever witnessed.
Listening to United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff’s words in an NPR interview on September 1, 2005, in which he showed he was either oblivious to or in denial about the needs of people affected by Katrina, inspired this piece. I made every attempt to graphically illustrate the destruction of Katrina and the horror of the people caught in its aftermath, including the mud, broken glass, trash, and images of traumatized people in the background.
Some people look at these artworks and say, “Wow! Why is she painting cats?” Others may disagree with the political content or the visual form and be glad that I generally paint more pleasant themes.
Both, however, are a part of who I am as a person and as an artist. Both styles are reflective of my creative impulse, and both present artistic challenges for me.
I cannot do one without the other.
“Uncensored” will be on display October 1-31, 2010 at Anderson Creative, 331 Cleveland Ave., NW, Canton, OH.