THE PURITY IN OVEREXPOSURE

MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS - FSU - 2014

"CARRY ON" - GRADUATING EXHIBITION

Artist Statement

I am a young, middle-class woman, in modern western society. This fact alone has left me submerged in societal influences of impossible apperance standards and numb to the bombardment of advertising featuring nameless faces- the generic “beauty”. When I was a young girl, out of instinct, I drew the nameless faces. Large eyes, small nose, full lips. My vehicle of self expression was to mimic the standardized, ideally beautiful face that I recognized to be “good”. I noticed and I watched as my peers and society responded to pretty: people liked pretty.

However, as my perceptions of identity deepen with age and life experience, I have found discord from my earlier revelation of “truth.” Is the idealized “pretty” face, label, mask, actually the pinnacle of goodness? Is there power in the invulnerability of the blank expression? I recognized that my obsession came from my desire to embody the strength and influence expressed through these faces, and not the humans they represented. Through the process of stripping the figure of all unique characteristics (race, age, gender) what is left is the blank template of the face, a formula of agreeable “beauty.” The most communicative characteristics of the work are the eyes of the figures, and while clearly looking at the viewer, leave them with little inclination they are ever being seen. These templates of idyllic humans call to the viewer for personality assignments; they contain what is placed upon them. This has led the viewer to question who “she” is, and why she has been so predominately displayed.

As I explore the medium of watercolor on a large scale, I find the ephemeral qual- ity and lack of material substance parallel to the themes of my work. While the medium highlights the weightless nature of my original photo source images, the paper sources, often suspended and freely unframed, create juxtaposition as the larger-than-life figure is displayed so weightlessly. The process of using watercolor to fragment and highlight facets of the face is a style I have found unique and crucial to the intent of my work.