Artist Statement

I am an artist working in oils and charcoal, specializing in figurative portraiture and still life using classical atelier methods obtained through short masterclasses and personal reflection.  My focus is on creating emotive pieces regarding the female experience, being both viewer and viewed.  Portraiture, being a woman painting women, is my passion.  

 

Using traditional methods on contemporary subjects, I hope to create unity between past and present and to shed light on the strength women have always had as muse, in being the subject ultimately being the controller of a piece by their very presence.  I've always been drawn to religious art and iconography, having been surrounded by it as a child, and am drawn particularly to female saints.  I apply skills and practices learned through working with icon writer and priest, Father Regan O'Callaghan, to my work in the arrangement of the  image and use of layers and panel preparation.  I alternate between linen canvas and hand-made gessoed panels prepared in the traditional way.  Materials fascinate me and I tend to use traditionally made paints in natural colours.  I am also exploring preparing my own paint. 

 

We live in a world of immediacy; we don't tend to allow time to be spent however, in my pieces, time is spent due to the methods and materials I use.  My work is, I hope, a thread linking the past, when artists spent months or years completing a piece, and this time when the world wants instant satisfaction.  Time is taken and is seen in my work.  There is space in my work that allows the viewer to spend time with the singular object or mood.  In a world where we each have a camera in our pocket to capture a moment in perfect clarity, I hope to capture not necessarily the image of the person or the space but the feeling, using colour, texture, and arrangement. 

 

It is my intention that the audience will see someone they feel is real, or a moment they can identify with, and that they can perhaps see themselves reflected in the face of another made with natural materials from the earth that made us.  My sources are friends, acquaintances, and life models with interesting faces and/or a story to tell.

 

Sargent, Zorn, and Sorolla's use of light and shadow, texture thick and smooth, and their masterful confidence in their materials influence me greatly.  Modern painters such as Teresa Oaxaca and Ben Fenske, both of whom I've been lucky enough to study with, are largely influential in their paint handling and subject matter.  Their use of chroma and lack of fear at using texture ignites me. 

 

By applying atelier skills to modern subjects with a view to the emotive responses we have to art and gesture, I hope to give the viewer a space to enjoy a singular moment capture in paint.

© 2017 Tara Lewis. Designed by Innov8 Designs

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