I have always been fascinated by portraiture, realism and the figure. I am powerfully affected by beauty and ornamentation in painting, and by the intimacy created between a human subject and a viewer. In my own work, I want to preserve elements of representation, while deconstructing the figure in further exploration of my subject. While I do not work directly from observation, my paintings are typically inspired by an image or memory of one of my daughters. Anchored in a gesture that is both personal and familiar, my subjects depart from the specific and evolve into invented individuals. They become universal portraits of girls during their formative years, marked by a vivid internal consciousness, and at times a sense of social disconnection. Changeable and often ambiguous narratives emerge, inviting the viewer to consider questions about femininity, identity, transition, and awakenings.
My process is a type of call and response between my subject and the materials I choose. Paper, fabric, and found materials create new conditions on the surface, in a manner that can’t be accomplished with paint alone. In recent years, I introduced printmaking to my practice as a source for collage materials. Incorporating different textures, edges and patterns into my paintings often results in contextual shifts, presenting dynamic opportunities for further creative choices. I use the interplay between image and surface to reveal character through gesture, costume, and environment.
Copyright © 2021 Kathy Loev Putnam - All Rights Reserved.