When I first moved to New England in 1998, I was struck by the predominance of portraiture. In particular, I found myself drawn to early, more “primitive” regional portrait painters and to their subjects. This work reminded me of the photographic portraits of my Wisconsin ancestors that I loved to pore over as a child. With their fixed gazes and stiff body postures, these early New Englanders seem to make an active effort to express their identities and functions in terms of family, landscape, interior spaces, selected objects, and even pets.
Over the years, I’ve been involved in making my own kinds of portraits. These two paintings from “Fifteen Portraits” represent real people, though when I paint people, I’m not trying to achieve a likeness. Rather, I hope to say something about their spirit, their way of being, and their life force. I paint the inside and the outside—a whole set of circumstances, a rich environment. My portraits are about identity and function. While embracing human complexity, I hope they possess a simple and direct quality akin to the work of those early New England artists and the photographic portraits of my ancestors.
Title: Fifteen Portraits
Media: Ink, watercolor, graphite, collage papers
Paper: Stonehenge (100% cotton, acid-free, 90 lb.)
Paper size: Various
Image size: Various
For questions about exhibiting Fifteen Portraits, send a note to Jeri via the contact page.