I stayed up late last night to submit on-line (at the very last minute - it was due by midnight) my application to the Portland Museum of Art Biennial. This will be the 5th or 6th time that I've applied. I have never gotten in, and honestly thought that I wouldn't bother this time around. A bit of sour grapes, probably. Or, just dreading rejection, again. Then I caved and submitted these four pieces from my ancestor portrait series, Mything Persons. I had to hustle to take these photos and piece them together in photoshop. Just four images are accepted - I wanted to show the drawings unframed, and also behind the windows, and I wanted to submit four portraits. My challenge was how to do this in four images. My sister suggested that I put them side by side in each of the four images - I called the museum and they said that this was OK and not breaking any rules. So here they are. My problem is that I never feel that what I have to offer is of enough significance to warrant being chosen for this *venerated venue.* I think my work is too trivial, not of universal appeal, not conceptual enough, blah blah blah, ad nauseam. I decided to silence that nasty voice and simply submit what is my most recent work. Take it of leave it, I say!! (But I would be thrilled if they take it...) (and I know I'll be sad and disappointed if they don't...) Who am I kidding? This is always an emotional ordeal!!
I dreamt last night that a woman who was in charge of a biennial (it was not the PMA) chose a pale and delicate pencil drawing of mine - a triptych of sorts - to be in the show. She loved it, and I felt so appreciated, understood, and honored. Who is she? Maybe me. Maybe I need to remember that what I think counts!
So here is my artist statement that I banged out at 11:30pm, just under the wire, without looking back. Ah, the rat...(ha ha ha! Freudian typo!!)...I mean, Ah, the ART scene. Wish me luck!!
Mything Persons is a series of portraits taken from a scanned family photo from the late 19th century. Typically I do my portraits from life, but this photo was so compelling, I had to draw these faces that look familiar yet strange. As I stared at the digital image of this old photograph on my computer screen, and zoomed in on each face, I searched the eyes for clues that link them to my life: Were they happy? What did they eat for breakfast that day? Did the women yearn to be more than wives and mothers? Did they enjoy sex? Were the men kind? What dysfunctional behaviors and what loving habits did they pass on to my generation? They look at us through old windows, holding onto their secrets as they merge with our own reflections.