I’ve been doing a lot of professional development recently on the business side of visual arts as I have a set of goals to take my work outside of the Yukon (be that through residencies, galleries, shows, conferences, or publications). Part of this work has involved developing an artist’s statement for my entire practice – as opposed to just for individual shows. I’ve always thought of my practice in four distinct realms – my mixed media canvas work, my collage work, my clothing and art lingerie design work, and my installation and public collaborative work. Because of this the thought of developing a single unifying statement seemed onerous at best, impossible at worst. But then I sat down with a group of fellow artists and they very clearly saw unifying themes across the full spectrum of my work and convinced me that a single statement capturing my practice was achievable. And so I sat down with my notebook and a bunch of coloured pens and brainstormed and brainstormed and wrote and scratched out and wrote again…and this is what I came up with (some close friends and family assure me that it captures my work but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it):
I like to use my work to challenge the status quo and traditional institutions – be that the media, politics, traditional gender roles, the representation of women in history, or the western concepts of beauty. If I can create a scenario where the audience sees the world, or a well-known concept or story in a new light, or through a new lens, I feel like I have succeeded.
Part of how I express this aim is to create work that will reward viewers for the time they spend with a piece, the idea being that the more they look the more they will find. I love texture and creating visually tactile work that incorporates many layers that will appear in the final piece in various degrees of opacity. Intricate details and vibrant colour is also fundamental to my work.
I try to move my work beyond the 2D space and into the viewer’s space by including sculptural assemblage elements and found objects that will engage the viewer from different angles and breaks through the natural barrier between the work and outside world into the viewer’s space.