Virtual Insight: ARTIST STATEMENTS

Susan Bennett
ARTIST'S WEBSITE

WATCHING AND WAITING IN THE MARIONETTE'S DEN
With the
Marionette's Den, the blue color brought to mind the burkas worn by women in Afganistan, thus the marionette's Hijab. The four images of sprouting seeds became a visual simile for living one's life in a repressive religious patriarchy. Yet this piece is not exclusively about women subjugated by extremism; women are controlled, manipulated and exploited worldwide. Other schematic drawings of the parts that made up the marionette speak to vulnerability and powerlessness.

WATCHING AND WAITING THROUGH THE MAGIC MIRROR
The metal object topped by a ball has always reminded me of a bell jar and signified being trapped in stale social conventions. Intuition and instinct illicit a response indicated by the sound from a bell traveling to an ear, a knowing truth in spite of the social assumptions that attempts to mask us. The spiral becomes a mirror by means of imagination, a childlike tool of wonder and exploration. some of the mark making and patterns simply pleases me, like the three eye shapes that I named Double, Double Toil and Trouble from Macabre.

SOFT
The wing from Winged Victory of Samothrace conveys action, a responsiveness to the wind and sensual organic imagery. Under the wing is a graceful languid lily in soft subdued colors; a flower sacred to the Minoans and perceived as a sign of sexuality by Ancient Romans. The three iconic symbols signify ancient spiritual doorways in the worship of Triune Goddesses and the Art Deco borders honor my more recent female ancestors. Top left is a moth oblivious to the flame while diagonally down, lies the small supine figure of a contemplative young woman, partially hidden in nature.

Thomas Bigatel
ARTIST'S WEBSITE

 

 

 

 

ETERNAL FLAME
Eternal Flame is the first in a short series of paintings in remembrance and honor of my mother, who passed away September 14, 2014. The death of one so dear is one of the most difficult and spiritual experiences a person can have, especially holding the hand of that person as she takes her final breath. She was and is my eternal flame of strength and virtue.

LEARNING TO FLY IN A LEADEN SKY
In my continued visual exploration of the intangible, spiritual, and somewhat metaphysical, this painting delves into the discovery of unknown territory and finding my own voice as an artist, even through the obstacles that life often throws at us.

IN THE INBETWEEN
The second piece in the InBetween series asks questions such as : Where are We? Why are we here? Why am I here right now, at this time and place? We are "InBetween". In between the beginning of our lives and the eventual death of our bodies. Is there something more after death? Do our 'souls' continue on another journey, passing into another realm of existence.

Michael Fischerkeller
ARTIST'S WEBSITE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY (PATRIOT Act I)
This is the first artwork in a five painting series commenting on the PATRIOT (now USA FREEDOM) Act and the breadth and depth of domestic surveillance powers authorized by the Act. The central figure in the painting was appropriated from Sir Frederic Leighton's artwork entitled Flaming June (1895). The figure was chosen for two reasons. First, her restful pose represents a serenity that Congressional leadership suggests should be appreciated by US citizens as a consequence of increased surveillance - a perspective not shared by a majority of the public polled on the topic. Second, the transparency effect presented by the figure's diaphanous gown, an effect present in all paintings in the series, is symbolic of a greater need for transparency in the government's application of it's expanded surveillance powers.

INDIFFERENCE (THE WEALTH GAP)
This artwork speaks to the ever increasing wealth gap in the United States. Prior to 2014 State of the Union Address, it was reported that the top wealthiest 1% of American citizens possessed 40% of the nation's wealth whereas the bottom 80% owned 7%. During the post-2008 economic recovery, 95% of economic gains went to the top 1% net worth individuals. Wealth inequalities of this magnitude can have deleterious effects on societies at those at the lower rungs of the ladder perceive that opportunities for advancement become further out of reach. Imagery from Simon Vouet's Allegory of Wealth (1630–35) was appropriated for this piece to represent the 1%. In this composition "Wealth" is shown coddling a wealthy businessman, with both looking down with indifference at a less well-off individual.

Roxana Alger Geffen
ARTIST'S WEBSITE

FOGGY
Several years before Foggy I began a body of work that responded to the tumult of life with small children. I explored systems of family dynamics which I saw as dense webs of many-branched connections, like neurons or river deltas. Over time, as my children depended on me less and we spent more time away from each other, this tangled jumble of connections was pruned, leaving only the biggest, most well-traveled pathways. The landscape opened up. This was a relief, but also a loss, and I began to focus on that thread of grief that runs through parenting: grief at the loss of self that comes with motherhood, grief that your children will grow up and leave you, and grief at the knowledge that as your children are moving into strength and abundance, you are moving away from it.

Foggy was one of the first pieces I made that described this new version of the family landscape. The piece shows a mournful, slightly ominous place obscured by fog. A few buildings and trees are visible on the periphery. A group of small objects hovers in the white-out at the center. They are close, but not touching. Beside them looms a large amorphous blob, its mouth open, but the small creatures only see each other. Despite the melancholy of the separation and the foggy isolation, there is a goofy, cheerful intensity to these characters, and a sense that this is just a glimpse of an on-going swirl of passionate ruptures and reconciliations.

CONTAINERS
Containers is part of a body of work begun as a response to the tumult of life with small children. Like a strip mall in a hurricane, a family with young kids is characterized by the modesty of its architecture and the extremity of its weather. A river of emotion, chaos, and growth flows through the household. In response, we try to control the flood with domestic structures like schedules, toy storage, and chore charts. These structures must be earthquake proof (strong but flexible) and easily demolished when no longer needed.

Containers is built from a variety of materials—paint, wax paper, ink jet prints and tape—because I needed a way to reflect the flux and spontaneity of parenting. The materials require me to work at different speeds, and some are clearly more durable than others. The photographs are all images of my domestic life. The images of stacks of bins and bowls come from my trips to Ikea—cheap, cheery Ikea is the 'Home Depot' of domestic life—and anchor the central structures in the piece.

 

Patrick Marquis
ARTIST'S WEBSITE

Painting for me, has become an important means to process and put into context the events of my own life. This turn towards the personal in my work can be traced to my 2010 struggle against an advanced throat cancer. The various aspects of my treatment left me with some powerful images. The painting Incision/Stone of Madness, arose from the memory of the removal of lymph nodes from my neck. I became interested in the depiction of surgery in art, and worked some of these images into the piece. I interposed a face from a fifteenth century work by Heironymus Bosch, a carving from an Egyptian tomb, an dimages from a Rembrant painting of a dissection. This piece is fairly sculptural, and represents more use of mixed media in my work.

 

Kathryn Mecca
ARTIST'S WEBSITE

My oil paintings depict the figure in social contexts, and concern what its presentation reveals about the subject and its audience. How much information about a person's essence is gleaned from a fleeting public or private pose? What does the way we process this limited information reveal about our own identity? In Signal/Noise, I explore this theme through studies of the backs of heads. These reverse portraits deliberately simplify the subject, omitting the wealth of information supplied by the face, and flattening and stylizing what is presented. The result is an abstraction that seeks to convey the essence of a subject. Can the essence–or signal–emerge from the information provided? How much of the absent information is simply noise? I continue to explore the interplay of identity and self-presentation in more recent works which focus on other aspects of the figure and explore distinct ways of simplifying the painted image.

 

Roslyn Rose
ARTIST'S WEBSITE

I take photographs and collect pictures of interiors and exterior facades in order to expose the space behind doors and windows to reveal a new image. It is a combination of reality and unreality to go beyond the traditional photograph.

In A Room With A View, I removed the doors and a fireplace in a room in a French palace in order to expose a view of a farm building in Maine. The combination of palatial building being renovated for tourists to view and a humble structure still in use by a farmer, allowed me to make a significant statement.

By suggesting that an old European grotto is located within an American barn, I am expressing a past that could be part of the present. Is the grotto made of stone and tile or is it just a figment of my imagination? Maybe the viewer will find stories of ancient gods hidden behind tiles or drying hay.

 

Carla Royal
ARTIST'S WEBSITE

 

 

In our demanding and fast-paced culture, many of us have lost a deep connection to the land, to each other and even to our own souls. We suffer as a result. Our relationships suffer. The earth suffers, Nature gently leads us back to attention, connection and a sense of place where restoration and inspiration can arise.

My art is inspired by a love of nature. I an a wonderer of woods and field, in love with tree, lichen, fern, dropped blossom, reflecting puddle, donkey ears, and horse muzzle. I love the clouded sky through tangled branches and light dancing off gurgling stream. These sustain and inspire me. My hope and intention is that through my art people will be inspired to reconnect with themselves and nature, opening to reconciliation, restoration, and inspiration.

Jeanne Wilkinson
ARTIST'S WEBSITE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Formerly an abstract painter I found myself fascinated with layering, and my paintings became thick with their own scraped and ravaged history. But Photoshop's infinity of translucencies, layerings and color options made me want to get beyond the static image and explore the transformative qualities of the digital medium. From there I traveled into time-based imagery using After Effects. In spite of being computer-based, my work maintains a "painterly" feel rooted in my abstract expressionist experience.

 In The Skater and the Superbowl from 2014, the Russian Winter Olympics and the Superbowl football game in the US are blended into into a surreal sequence of actions, movements and unexpected conjunctions. There is an aspect of sexual display in both sports that embodies the extremes of gender stereotyping, and in this video the "macho" sport of football is rendered graceful and full of rhythms not unlike the female skater's movements.

The Magic Isles of Mull and Iona: A Travelogue was made after a trip to Scotland with my son. While in this land of craggy cliffs, sheep and castles, I couldn't help but feel the ancient spirits that still inhabit the moors and lochs – as if, just out of the corner of my eye, dragons, knights, goddesses and green-men still rise from rocks and waters. After coming home, I took my pictures of that trip and altered them to reveal these visions that still lie beneath the misty surfaces.

Rachel Yurkovich
ARTIST'S WEBSITE

 

I was reading the book Confessions Of A Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding In Plain Sight by M.E. Thomas. She was telling a memory of her childhood where she would go out to the barn every morning to collect their chicken's eggs. Her grandfather had told her, "The chickens might turn to eating their own eggs, and once a chicken has a taste for egg, it will continue eating eggs and have to be killed." Thomas told instances of coming across a bunch of broken eggs; apparently one chicken had gotten a taste for egg and wasn't willing to give it up even when given plenty of regular chicken food. So of course after reading this, I had to test this out and see what would happen if I didn't stop a chicken of cyclically eating her own eggs.

Egg Eating Chicken is a recording of one of the many days that this hen Chelsea has consumed the egg that she laid. It is an ongoing project that started on March 15,.2014 with me breaking one of her eggs in front of her as she eagerly gobbled it up. As the days passed, she learned how to knock the egg against hard surfaces to break them herself without my initiation. Now in December 2015, I never see any eggs.

 

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