Monday, September 17, 2007

a bit about my past and present work

For those of you that know my work, I always work with romantic imagery, even if the underlying message is not so romantic. I have also been dealing with layers for many years. With the "She or Me" series, a piece of fabric was always present - this acted as my security blanket of sorts, since I was still not comfortable with my body. In some of the images, the fabric covered parts of me - a layer of fabric. In the "Shrouded" series, it was an obvious layering of fabric but the emotional layers are a little more complex. The" Art History Lesson" series used masks as layer components. Emotional layers became even more present and profound in the "Fragments of Being" series Part 1 and "Fragments" Part 2 used the physicality of paint over the images as a layer. And lastly, the Self Works on Paper series not only continued with the painting over the images but brought in a brand new technique for me - the acrylic image transfer.

Without getting into the process of the acrylic transfer in this post, I will just say that the end result is a translucent image. A friend of mine showed me the process. However, she took the transfers and mounted them to mat board. That was it. I raised an eyebrow and wondered why she would limit herself and the process to just a plain white piece of matboard. Why go through this lengthy process just for that? Then it hit me like an anvil on Wile E Coyote's head - I can mount them onto textures, painted paper, text...the possibilities are endless but in the end it's....another layering process! Duh, AnnMarie - your craving for doing mixed media has finally been made available for you to feel sated. Hence, the Self Works series was born.

That series, which at the moment contains roughly 23 pieces, is far from complete. However, as I was creating them, the natural progression led to something a bit different - "Penance" and "Weight of the World" were the last 2 pieces created and the borders started to take on an illustrative quality - almost reminescent of illuminated manuscripts. Taking a bit of a departure from the series, and moreso , away from traditional photography, I started looking into books on illuminated manuscripts. The Book of Hours, Catherine of Cleves and the Book of Kells all inspired me greatly. The details, the time consumed in each, the colors and especially the gold. Another thing I was attracted to was the religious imagery and symbolism. I am not religious - perhaps Agnostic is what closely defines my belief system, but I was raised as Catholic - more importantly - an Italian Catholic. For those of you that can relate, you can understand how religious iconography can't help but become imbedded into your brain. It aids as a dramatic element to my work, so why should I abandon it?

So, I went from the liberating, free process that was the Self Works series, to the tightly laid out, lined up, detail-oriented, and as-precise-as-I-can-possibly-get series that is upon me now, since over a year ago. This series is in progress and is yet untitled, but it is a book of sorts, of very real things happening in my life. The imagery is still romantic, and now there are decorative borders and text inked in gold that I have learned how to do (there is a small cheat involved - will explain at a later date). Still, each 15x11 piece is very time-consuming and very different than anything I have done before. One piece may take up to a month to complete. This is involving concept creating, writing the text (so far, all of the text has been my own, not quotes from poets, though I may use some in the future if it's fitting), layout, research of design elements, etc. etc. Sometimes, I create a piece around an image I already have, and some, I shoot the image around the piece.

Whew, ok....this was a long first real post, so the least I can do is leave you with one of the photos I have used for one of these pages. This is the image before I added a little Photoshop magic which will be seen when I post the final piece (probably a month or so from now as I am working on a different piece at the moment).
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