The Poetess

Z_The Poetess 36x45 2018.jpg

36x46 inches | oil finger painting and knife on wood board

It is the day of the Festival of Seven Queens and a girl, dressed as the Poetess, is framed as she heads out to the procession. Around her shoulders she is wearing a leafy shawl that grew in her closet of living clothes, where plants sprout into wearable outfits. Two hundred years in the future, where she lives, cultural mergences have created new traditions and garments.

This future global holiday honors and celebrates the female leaders—the Seven Queens—that ended the era of human-on-human violence across the planet. This young girl is wearing the outfit of her favorite queen: the Poetess. On the night of the festival, women across the world wear these handmade glowing headdresses and walk with candles, whispering.

Her turban looks almost like a serpent coiled around the top of her head, and the headpiece appears to have light coming from within it. This glowing fabric is the same material that Fuchsia Shamanka wears in the painting that will accompany this one at my show in May (Ritual in Pairing). The Shamanka is another one of the seven queens; each queen represents a continent.

My Process: These textile-inspired pieces were painted from life. First I sewed pieces of paintings onto fabric and then backlit them with a lamp. The model was also painted from life: her name is Billie Klein. She posed for eight hours in my studio. 

 The dark side of her face is in such a shadow that very nuanced shades of a low contrast colors define her features. The paint texture is unexpectedly dramatic upon close inspection—smooth skin is depicted with highly textural dabs of finger painting. The glowing effects make her starkly different from the clayish, earth tone palette that frames her.

Marbled Endpaper | Source Wikipedia

Marbled Endpaper | Source Wikipedia

This is a finger painting on canvas but the frame within a frame was made with a palette knife painted onto the wooden board itself. The reason I picked this frame style is that it reminds me of the printing patterns in the marbled endpapers of old books. This design feels like history itself, like time passing. In this case it’s time passing into the future. I have visualized this possible festival—this ceremony, the extraordinary women, the post-violence world. It is my job as an artist to render my dream first, to create a visual design that calls this reality into existence.