part of "Marks Made" exhibition; Next Picture Show Gallery, Dixon, IL; December 2022
In a world that often pits women against each other, I believe that fostering relationships with other women is an important part of a woman’s well-being. Although my past works celebrated those bonds, a sudden death and loss of those bonds left me feeling empty and confused and led me to reflect on my long-held beliefs about female relationships. I began to question what I knew about myself and the other women around me.
Crab Theory is used to explain why women will sometimes tear another down. While my past works have attempted to counter crab mentality by celebrating women, this new series reflects my more nuanced understanding of this behavior after having experienced a major loss. Although not a counter to the theory, it does attempt to add dimension to it as I slowly realized the unexpected role I sometimes played in it before this loss.
Through these portraits, which include a number of self-portraits, I am attempting to illustrate my unique stages of grief immediately following this loss. My grief often felt surreal and left me feeling disconnected or invisible to the outside world; therefore, I retreated into my art.
I immersed myself in colors that soothed me and used mark making to silence the thoughts from which I could not escape. In the end I used my art to heal, to better understand my grief and my relationships. During the creation of this series, I realized that I had spent much of my past work celebrating other women and had forgotten to include myself.
I still believe we must support one another and recognize when we are just another crab in the bucket holding down another woman. We must also recognize that sometimes we must let another go so that we can start to pull ourselves up. Furthermore, this series helped me understand what it was like to be alone in that bucket.