Mary Kate Dilamarter, Artist Statement
Through painting, I explore textures with figurative imagery to relay ideas exploring the way that the psychological can become physical, as well as contemporary femininity. Pattern, the sculptural qualities of paint, extreme foreshortening, poses of intense emotion, plant life, and self-portraiture all help me to build the work and create a plumpness through both organic and geometric imagery. I include self-portraiture in order to explore insecurities in my body and mind, and hopefully to create a vulnerability that invites the viewer to think about themselves in a more sympathetic way.
Much of my work focuses on my personal battles with anxiety and trauma and are the culmination of my efforts to construct a space where I can be safe with my thoughts. By creating surroundings that incorporate both geometric and fluid patterns juxtaposed with figures and possibly real spaces, I want the existence to be both foreign and familiar to the viewer. Plants vining and hair growing to take over represent those intrusive thoughts that can plague everyday life, but also the overwhelmingly dynamic energy that nature and life create. My connection with nature is an ever-increasingly important aspect of my life, and creating vines and patterns that cover the world I create is cathartic.
The exploration of the body, specifically self-portraiture in my work, allows me the freedom to emphasize ideas of strength within femininity, reclaiming the rawness of the body that can be produced by the psychological. Lucien Freud’s use of extreme shadows and often vulnerable angles and posing inspire much of the content of my work, helping me to create a more emotional environment. The psychological effects of the world on the mind are commonly invisible to the human eye, but Freud’s use of energetic texture in his flesh is able to convey the unseen in a physical way. Another artist that inspires much of my work is Daniel Pitin, a painter who came with the first wave of artists out of Communist Europe. His architectural and cubistic scapes utilize both highly rendered and smooth voids and chaotic and washy fields for the viewer to become lost in. The figures he portrays are commonly only fragments, somehow saying more than the whole would, as if he is breaking into the essence of the person by stripping away the unnecessary. In my own work, hair that fluffs out into its own forms and flesh with the glow of layers built upon layers become the vessel for these monumental emotions. By exposing the rawness within myself, I hope to build a safe place for both myself and the viewer.
Western Kentucky University