Artist Statement

 

     I paint people in oil and watercolor and look inside of what appears to be seen.  The common thread in my work is humanity and unlike the lens of a camera that objectively documents a moment in time and space, my lens subjectively observes and comments.  My portraits and narrative paintings converge the real and imagined to examine the status quo and social norms of modern life.   I invite viewers to look and consider the psychological, sociological, or emotional complexities of race, gender, age, and culture. 

           I often incorporate text into paintings.  My master’s degree in reading education and the thirty years of reading aloud to children and being read to by children from storybooks where picture and text go hand-in-hand has influenced this creative choice. I use lettering from magazines and newspapers for the text, much like the ransom notes written by the kidnappers on the TV detective shows I watched as a kid. I am drawn to the various colors, sizes, and fonts of the cutout letters and how they enhance the visual impact of the overall painting and provide context, allowing the viewer to connect emotionally and intellectually.

        I attribute my artistic style to the hundreds of young children I knew in my 30 years as a teacher.  The daily interactions with children and most importantly, the moment-by-moment immersion into their concrete thinking rests on my canvases via simple lines, shapes, values, and textures in vivid colors set into a story.
       My current work focuses on America’s racial climate and the #Black Lives Matter movement.  As a whole, these oil, watercolor, and acrylic paintings create an empathic narrative sparked from my many years forming emotional connections with young African American children.  Each painting has led me to the next painting and has become a project entitled TOO: An Orientation of Spirit. 

 

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© Melody Croft