Full Artist's statement
William Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” (Requiem for a Nun) With that aphorism in mind, I investigate the past through personal identification with images, poems and stories from the past. Ancient and contemporary myths are explored for their contemporary relevance. Antique photographs and old stories are mined for present day significance. Painting with oil provides time for silent reflection. It is during the slow, physical process of painting my mind wanders. I imagine I am a child fearful of nighttime monsters or a young soldier eager to impress. Over decades, the subject matter of my paintings has changed: sexual awakening, sexual myths, racial tension, gun violence, war and love. One constant for my work is my empathic identification with characters and their imagined narratives.
Whether doing oil paintings or Chinese ink and watercolors on Oriental papers, my process is direct. I begin with simple drawings after hours of contextual research. The tension between planning and allowing the process to unfold is essential to the life of my work. My oil paintings employ both brushes and palette knives as if I am sculpting forms, carving planes, erasing and re-applying images and lines. Thus, the application and removal of paint is integral to my discovery. An immediate painting response is conveyed with my Chinese inspired brush paintings. To express chi or the spirit of the subject hesitation is not permissible, the doer and the subject are one.
This registry includes samples of work form several different themes explored over the last seventeen years since completing my MFA from MICA. To see my more complete portfolios, please go to my web site, www.damenart.com