The Process of Laying It Down and Picking It Back Up (assemblage version), 2019

Oil on panel

24” x 30”

This piece started out as a series of small watercolor studies that I did to try and reclaim and heal something.

I knew I was going to do the piece, but I wasn't sure if I would show it to anybody.
One of the scariest (and coolest) things about art is that you can't control what happens in the mind of the viewer after you put it out there. I had a very personal and specific meaning for this work, but was concerned that my intent would be misread by a viewer who was wanting it to be salacious or to use it for their own gratification.

But this is not a new fear nor is it uncommon.
This is the lifelong plight of most women. Does my body belong to me or does it exist for your pleasure? It doesn't seem to matter if the woman is wearing a bikini or a burka, some people are going to objectify that woman. The fear of this feeling, this energy of being dehumanized, can be pretty intense and limiting, like a prison.
For me, there came a point where I had to realize that what was going on in someone else's head had nothing to do with me.

Knowing I'd gotten what I needed from the piece, I showed it to my sons. I figured if they were okay with others seeing it, then I was okay with it. Not in that my body belongs to my sons, but that I am their mother and my actions impact their lives and I care about their feelings.
So I went ahead and decided to make a larger painting of the last in the series and then show them all together as an installation piece in which I explain what my motivation was.