When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mary Porterfield

Mary Porterfiled's work is somewhat difficult to grapple with online. These are large paintings depicting sweeping vistas, often of natural disasters, but the details consist of an elaborate filigree of people, birds, mammals, fish and who knows what else. The images on her website (maryporterfield.com) are not particularly large and there's only a couple detail pictures. But it's enough to give one an idea of the mythic complexity of the work. Ms. Porterfield is an occupational therapist dealing with Alzheimers patients and sees her work as a kind of therapy. That may be the case, but it strikes me as an almost religious exercise, a spiritual examination of the fundamental issues of the human experience. Why are we here? Why do we suffer? The elaborate and undecipherable narrative woven into her paintings is not an explanation but a meditation on these questions.

"Perceiving the Brink" Oil on wood panel 48" x 68"

"Perceiving the Brink"

"Church of St.Helen's" Oil on wood panel 47 1/2" x 64 1/2"

"Pool of Life" Oil on wood panel 54" x 46"

"Displaced" Oil on wood panel 40" x 60"

I came across Ms. Porterfiled's work in the latest issue of Studio Visit magazine (volume ten).

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