Old News, New News

The painting is old but what is written about it is not.  Not to you, anyway.  I finally found the artist statement for this painting, and am posting it so that you can make new connections.  🙂

I would like to explore the idea of the inexpressible through the reconciliation of two languages, in an effort to visually stretch our understanding of identity and the vulnerability that underlies therein.  In today’s society, the individual is very self-aware, and we tend to create for ourselves two separate identities: the identity we allow others to see, and the more vulnerable, secret identity we know ourselves to truly be.  I would like to explore this concept through portraiture, using an expressive watercolor sketch to express the true self and more descriptive oil painting to express the shared self.

By way of allegory, I hope to show a humbling image which can be related to through use of symbolism.  While the sock puppets provide a solid, believable conception of hiding oneself, the figure behind those sock puppets will have an inexpressible quality to it, becoming part of imagination rather than reality.

For the format, I’m choosing to paint on a fairly large-scale conventional canvas.  I think it important that the figure is a believable size, close to that of a real person.  I plan to use a symmetrical composition, and material considerations will fall under categories of expressive (within the watercolor figure), descriptive (as shown in the sock puppets), and grafting (as the button eyes will be actual buttons, sewn on with embroidery thread).  The color strategy will also be both expressive and descriptive, as juxtaposition of inner and outer selves suggest.

In considering this painting, I referenced the work of Ali Cavanaugh, studying her ideas of portraiture and identity.

– Meredith Hoffman


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