2020 A year full of conflict and a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic had me creating differently from past years. Still driven by color and line I found myself embarking on a series that provokes a smile. Unlike previous bodies of work this emerged and caught me by surprise. I found joy in the bounty of feedback I received on social media or virtual exhibitions as Galleries and exhibition locations were in lockdown.
A smile that makes the eyes brighten, heard in a voice or felt in words gave me a psychological and physical uplifting which was so needed in 2020. ENJOY. #smileart
I live in the country on the shore of Lake Ontario where I have uncovered many secretly hidden and protected nests. I soon realized the safe havens I was painting shared characteristics with my life and circumstances; chaotic but with elements with order, adapting to challenges and always trying to find a place of warmth and safety.
Since I love line and the concept of contradiction I began drawing these little homes which are painstakingly constructed from scrounged raw materials, which appear fragile yet withstand harsh elements without losing identity.
2017 had a focus of #nests, a place to nurture, rest, or to hide. I will continue on this exploration of nests in 2018. The circular movement of line, the natural fibers and the beautiful form continue to intrigue me.
In 2016 I will continue to reveal my life through narratives. Like many Irish I like to share stories. I use images, from a stockpile of memories often that are contradictory and uncomfortable realities of my life in a world that is so gender based.
In 2015 I further developed a body of work, in oils with the lines of the lake. I found myself living in the country now, a simpler easier life. My work is reflecting that change, a life I have always dreamed about. For so long my life revolved around the almighty work week and yes- work is good for us-but it should’t take over our lives. My intent with this body of “lakelines” is to give the viewer a place to decelerate, to find a moment of calm.
I continue to work with the figure. The female body is a widespread topic on social media, and through out history. I paint the feminine body because I find it a safe place for weaving a narrative of body image by women for women, and it allows an abstract exploration of the interplay between sexuality, gender, and form. I often have conversations about my body with myself and these talks end up in my paintings. Sometimes I make those conversations clear and sometimes I put them in secret code, for women only. Painting the female body allows me to interpret women’s bodies and mentalities in a way mass media society does not conventionally allow or shies away from.
In 2014 I started to explore a simple soft body of work (pastel portfolio) inspired by the view of Lake Ontario out my window. That infinite space between me and the horizon takes me to a place of my own. A place where I feel like I am allowed to imagine and float. Yet, sometimes I feel disorientated- that is when finding the horizon line balances me. I took that line in the distance and created art, small in size, using pastels and thread on sandpaper, in hopes of giving you, the viewer, a moment of their own. When you eyes are softly focused on the horizon, your brain releases endorphins. It is like a runners high. So often we spend our days looking at screens, this is a nice change.
My paintings (oil portfolio) are like a conversation with a friend and not any friend, but my best friend. They just start. No plan, sometimes they ramble or are about secrets. At times they are funny, sad or serious. I often change my mind; take thoughts back, and then start over. I interrupt or make no sense and sometimes I am quiet and just listen. But in the end I feel safe and there is no right or wrong or judgments made when I expresses my thoughts to my best friend.
I love layers because they show a history on the canvas and they end up having a language of their own. I use color to get your attention. I make lines and detail when the conversation slows and I want you to look longer. If I need to make a point I use text as an exclamation point.
In 2013 I started a body of work (mixed media portfolio), which was inspired by “women’s work” or “fancy work” . There are many political, social and economic motives behind needlework , which run the gamut from an instrument of oppression to an outlet for creative satisfaction and even for feminine training. I love the ironic contradictions needlework has in cultures and throughout world history and it’s perceived relationship to femininity.