Artist’s Statement for the ‘Growing Up’ Series
‘Growing Up’ is a series of paintings, prints and shadowboxes based on photographs taken during my childhood. Most of the photographs I worked from are what one would call snapshots; some are more formal portraits; and some are works of art in themselves. As I worked, I examined the photos closely and with fresh eyes. I was struck by the poignancy of the middle class ordinariness of the scenes.
I began the series in 2014 with a photo taken by my father in 1959. I was drawn to the image because of the relationships revealed in the photograph, those intended and those inadvertently captured by the camera. I realized that both the photographic processes available at the time and the subsequent aging of the photograph affected the image and needed to be recorded as well. All my paintings are informed by the unique color chemistry of photographic prints available at the time they were taken, adding a layer of nostalgia within a more complex layering of meanings.
We all look at ourselves and understand our appearances. We see ourselves one day to the next; from week to week; year to year; never the same; always the same. Photographs catch moments that might otherwise have been forgotten. I have tried both to show the experience of the person I am in the photograph, and to connect with the viewer through the universality of experiences captured by the camera’s lens.
Both my prints and paintings show the mark of my hand and the brush. I am not recreating the photographs so much as honoring the moments they capture, the stopping of a moment of time.
I find richness in the appearances of which reality is made. Working with these photographs I relish the familiar things I know are there, the surprise of what can be discovered and those things sealed in the moment that can never be known or understood.
In this series I discovered the vast complexity of these captured moments. When I stopped to look at some, small, simple parts of a moment, I was stunned. In painting the pictures I came to understand that the value of the work was not a greater knowledge of the past, but recognition of the mystery of irretrievable innocence.
Sketch for 'Awakening" 2016