The Thin Veneer Series 2015
This series of 32 paintings are 39x39cm each. Every piece is produced in oil paint and inks on wooden sheets.
My overwhelming challenge in this series was to honor the exquisite qualities of the different wooden veneers. I had been attracted to them, but then I faced the problem of how to impact the beautiful wooden surfaces without trying to ‘compete’ with the perfect quality of each one.
My interventions started with positioning an elliptical arena, sometimes two, onto each surface. These ellipses are separate from the textured woods, but the curved edges and graceful forms of the ellipse, offer a gentle transition from the rich surface of the wood to the flattened tones of the painted areas.
I searched for an image or series of images, to introduce onto the ellipses, that could explore my respect for nature, my intrigue at the close relationship between human and natural endeavors, and my anxiety at the fragility of those relationships. A teenager’s body, vulnerable to human interferences and at the mercy of her own chemical nature, was the surface transferred as pale body print/monotypes onto the ellipses. Also, prints from gauze bandaging veer off the ellipses, onto the wood grain: referencing our human striving to mend or heal.
A bunch of fresh tulips that had died into the most striking dried flowers, suggested the vulnerability of natural things as well as presenting fragility as an elegant state. The flowers were arranged across the wooden panels and painted as they had fallen. I kept close attention to the tulips’ details, to retain their elongated, papery, dry yet sumptuous aspects.
The series was completed by the addition of barbed wire onto a number of the ellipses. The wire mimics the gracious curves of the flowers stems. It may be these shared visual elements that jar as the stark conceptual contrasts of the flowers and the barbed wire are acknowledged. Like bittersweet emotions, the tension between human constructs and nature, convey an awful beauty.
Some thoughts about 'A Thin Veneer'