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I enjoy making visually entertaining paintings that reflect the feminine spectacle. My work usually begins with a still life reference, composed of tiny, plastic objects, undulating in fake frosting and sparkles. I manipulate and enlarge the imagery into bright, bold oil paintings. Conceptually I’m investigating the complex nature of girlhood in America, where young women simultaneously ingest messages of oppression and empowerment. My paintings engage with the aesthetics of joy as laid out by Ingrid Fetell Lee. Lee describes expressions of joy as a form of resistance, a theory that resonates with me.
In this recent series, Her Marbles, small oil paintings depict colorful and shiny spheres in various proximities to one another, amidst a creamy pale pink background. The series title alludes to the phrase “losing one’s marbles” and is meant as a reflection on the immediate crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic and the struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy. Circles are psychologically proven to be the happiest shape and pale pink is known to be the most calming of colors. Engaging with these visual tools, I’ve adjusted my studio practice to respond directly to the current world-wide anxiety through oil painting.
The titles reference the music currently dominating pop culture. Lyrics of empowerment and positivity are linked with each painting, recognizing that during this time of social distancing music, art and technology are acting as instigators for connectivity and comfort. The titles are meant to bring joy, confidence and humor to the viewer. Process videos for paintings in this series can be viewed on my tiktok @ingridvwells. This body of work has been completed under a “shelter in place” mandate in San Francisco.