Monday, June 20, 2016

insights about this year's work so far

This year, I have began to produce new images that are taking different forms than what I have been doing. After The Divine Journey series, I had no idea where I wanted to take things. One of the big fears of artists is the uncertainty that they will never come up with another idea or concept once they finished a series of work, however, trust me, the ideas come. And they come by working, not by sitting around hoping you will just be inspired. One has to "make stuff" and then one day, something will spark and soon another body of work is created. Well, with me, there has been 2 different bodies of work this year but I feel there will be a melding of the 2 because in some ways, they are coming from the same place - transition, transformation and upheaval, if you will. 

This is how it started. I wanted to make the images a bit ambiguous. As I have used myself as the subject for over so many years, I was tiring of the focus being about the obvious me. I wanted to finally have viewers look at my images more universally and without asking "is that you?" or comments like "you have lost so much weight/look since then" or "why do you look so sad?".

A side note about those last comments -  I am not sure viewers walking into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre or any other museum, looks at a portrait and wonders if the model was that curvy or skinny and...sadness? While that is not usually the emotion that I present in my work, how or why does a smile have to be something that makes a piece of art beautiful, thoughtful, or interesting? Of course, these are almost a part of every self-portrait artist's every day inquiries and I do take the comments with a grain of salt almost never responding to them.

So, I worked on this series and things evolved:

As I "finished" up the series, I thought to myself that there wasn't much more I could say with that at the moment...or so I thought. So, I photographed some more, with stronger lighting and contrast. And I looked at the original photos. This is me - AnnMarie - the classic beauty, that has the face of the Madonna. I can mimic all of the grace and composure of Old Masters paintings because I know how to do that.

And with the start of the previous series, I wanted to continue changing the way I saw myself in my work. It's always auto-biographical and so were these - so much has happened to me emotionally and physically over the last several years and I didn't want to "mask" that with creating romantic imagery as I always have...per se...I continued to conjoin, disfigure and morph myself using Adobe Photoshop - similarly to what the commercial world is doing with their fashion models and celebrities. However, I am doing it to show a diachotomy - the light, composition and poses are beautiful like classic paintings,  and the changes in me - sometimes painful, sometimes exquisite and wonderful seem, to what some of my peers have said to me, disturbing. Well, what is inside of our minds can be a mess and it's never one-dimensional. Throw in major life shifts and it makes things even more chaotic. So this is where I am headed now. They are still very much portraits - romantic, old Master painter-like with a twist. Too different from my previous work? Not at all. Braver, perhaps.

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