The four portraits in my series each focus on the four individuals in my immediate family: mother, sister, brother, and myself. They focus not on the subject’s face, but on the individual’s clothes, to show the way in which fabric is an extension of identity.
Not only do we conceal -or reveal- our bodies with fabric, we also use it to express our identities, for ourselves and to the rest of the world. I personify the folds, creases, and drapes of fabric, treating the object with the same level of sensuality and attention required to paint a face. Additionally, when analyzing an individual’s clothes, with my paintings as the catalyst, we can connect rich narratives to the representation of fabric as well as its relationship to its owner.
I want the portrait to be a collaboration between myself, as the artist, and the subject. When beginning a painting, I ask my subjects to photograph their clothes, absent from their bodies and where the fabric falls naturally, so that they too have a hand in the composition of their own portrait. Though I exercise some artistic control over the elements in the composition, I aim to see what my subject’s attention is drawn to in their own fabrics. Why did they choose this item for their wardrobe? How does it reflect them? What hidden, beautiful moments can be found in the fabric that isn’t obvious at first glance? This act of collaboration emphasizes the idea of relationship in my works, as my hand renders the fabric, thus creating a space that speaks to “us”-myself, the subject, and the painting.
The physical properties of the medium play a big role in my works, as each new subject requires different manipulation of the paint. The ratio of pigment, to paint thinner, to oil changes as well as the intensity, direction, and clarity of my brush strokes. All this is done to effectuate the human presence back into the fabric