I enjoy making visually entertaining paintings that reflect the feminine spectacle. My work 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.
The oil paintings depict clusters of oversaturated, exuberant, sweet objects that take on a fantastical nature due to their enlarged scale. The viewer is invited to step into a bizarre world of personified desserts and theatrical playthings. My paintings reference the overwhelming pink toy aisle found in many American shops, with pop culture influences including Lucille Ball, Dolly Parton, John Waters, Barbarella, broadway musicals and Hello Kitty.
I value artwork that is approachable to those both inside and outside of the artworld, work that is inclusive and engaging for all ages. As an American woman artist I revel in working with color in an impactful way, working in direct opposition to the prejudice that David Batchelor describes below.
“In the first, colour is made out to be the property of some ‘foreign’ body - usually the feminine, the oriental, the primitive, the infantile, the vulgar, the queer or the pathological. In the second, colour is relegated to the realm of the superficial, the supplementary, the inessential or the cosmetic.” (David Batchelor, excerpt from Chromophobia, London: Reaktion, 2000, p. 23)
The over the top work oscillates between moments of cringe worthy suffocation and girl power/ “You’d better make some room for me” (Lizzo, Coconut Oil, 2016) themes. It is presented with a high level of energy, fun and a certain degree of silliness, contradicting a long history of painting where this type of work has been dismissed. With a complicated sense of fascination and a heightened curiosity, I present my ongoing series of oil paintings Spectacle.