Update: painting complete!
As part of my MFA thesis exhibition I've got the cell phone turned off and I'm losing myself in globs of paint. I'll let you in on the secret now: airplane mode setting turned ON. If your message goes undelivered, have patience, I'm slipping into a space in which flesh, form and color are all floating in and out of one another. Some call this THE ZONE. Brb, in the zone.
The body of work I'm sharing today explores the long-distance relationship between myself and my partner and is an excavation through paint. I believe that in my practice, the act of painting something is a way of analyzing it, understanding it and loving it. Arteries is one of many paintings I am creating that explore intimacy and touch. Throughout the next couple of months I'm asking you to enter private and vulnerable spaces.
Welcome, be kind.
I've long been enamored by the self-portrait. I believe that when I paint myself, I know myself. Seeing is knowing. Not dissimilarly, I paint the parts of my husband that I seek to understand, to touch and connect with while we live apart from each other.
I find deep satisfaction in painting the body I long to touch. His hands, his brow, and his chest are all places my paintbrush likes to linger. It is the way I connect in absentia. I worry I will forget what he looks like. There is so much that I miss. What if I forget a freckle, a crease, a scar? Will he cut his hair, will his skin get tan, what are all the minute changes that occur without me present?
I'm going to insert this here: My husband is a good sport. He's not an artist but he appreciates it. Dare I say, he understands it. He didn't ask for our private moments to be made public and I'm sensitive to the fact that he allows me to use his body to make some beautiful paintings. I ask that you also be sensitive to that, too.
Arteries was born out loss and a need to connect. In the three years we have been living this long-distance relationship, my normally very healthy, strong, athletic husband has had several illnesses. He has varicose veins that sometimes swell up along his ankle. One day a vein burst and it bled profusely. He consulted a doctor who advised that he should eventually seek surgery as it could have major medical complications, like causing a blood clot. All of these issues were swimming in my headspace as I developed this painting.
I believe my husband's anxieties are housed in his feet. When he's idle and nervous he picks at his toes. I ruminated on this as I mixed the hues for a gnarly toenail. As each fleshy layer took shape I contemplated the demarkation of time. If surgery occurred in my absence, I wouldn't remember what he looked like before. The arteries are a place holder for our sacrifices and paint is the conduit to express that.
A friend called this painting sensual and I have to agree. I hope that you can also find pleasure in its tactile and fleshy quality.
Details of Arteries Carry Blood to Your Heart