I’m working on a series of paintings on antique and decorative plates. My goal is to create 12 of these to be shown as one single installation that tells the story of my own life through word, image and symbols to suggest key events. I love the idea of using objects that have been discarded (I find most of these through kind donations and at thrift stores) to examine my own place in the world. That these actual plates have either been used in peoples’ home, served as a way to feed families around a dinner table, or simply as decor provides me with such a rich history on which to work.
For the past few years, I’ve been interested in combining the old with the new, both as a nod to the way we tend to reinvent ourselves from time to time (the art world’s own definition of new and old can be maddening, at times) and even my own admitted tendency for nostalgia. These same forces have always driven my work as a painter, but I am finding a richer introspection that even makes room for sine humor, whimsy and a general easiness in exploring some of these highly personal subjects. Is it age? Therapy? Perhaps I’ll tackle that in the next round of plates, which, of course, also pay homage to artists like Judy Chicago and Julian Schnabel.
For me, though, using these old, discarded and yes, even forgotten, items to tell my own story has enormous poignancy. What makes our story important? How long will it be remembered? What role does art really play in the legacy of the artist?