Artist Statement

My paintings and drawings represent what I view as a very personal and contemporary approach to the traditional still life. Sunglasses, handbags, cosmetics, paper clips, push pins and other everyday objects fill many of my canvases. The images represent works from a period of slightly over two decades and include examples from series I embarked upon that reflected my children’s youth (magnetic letters and crayons), remodeling our home (electrical wiring), life near the beach (sunglasses), how we modify our appearance (handbags and cosmetics), and, more recently, what gives us pleasure (food). When painting, I am close to the canvas and working with the color, shape and form of very small areas. It is not until I pull back to gain perspective that I am able to see how the forms come together to create a realistic representation. The results are realism, certainly, but the process that led to them involved countless journeys into small spaces taken up by abstraction. Together the many images represent my travels across realism’s spectrum, from tight photorealistic renderings to near abstractions.

Many of the objects depicted in my paintings attracted me because they serve as vehicles for transformation. We use makeup, lipstick, jewelry and even our footwear to transform our physical looks and outward appearances. The results convey how we as individuals feel about ourselves and how we would like to be perceived by others. Rows of sunglasses, handbags and shoes seduce us with their promise that we will be able to reinvent ourselves, become more glamorous, urbane, or mysterious. The rows of colorful merchandise pose intriguing questions for the passerby, the potential consumer. How would someone feel if they bought and wore one of these items? Will they be seen differently? Will they feel differently? What change can come so simply and quickly? What dreams might a purchase make real? My paintings mirror these same questions.

The multiple objects in my paintings reflect the rich abundance we encounter in many aspects of our lives and particularly the randomness that plays such a large role in our experiences. As we savor the colorful images, our eyes travel over the canvas surfaces and begin to perceive myriad subtle differences among the many similar objects. This is true with the colorful, even flashy, shoes and sunglasses in some of the paintings as well as even more prosaic objects like the paper clips and push pins. Our recognition of these visual similarities and differences and their random ordering can prod us to think about aspects of our own lives and relationships.

Marilyn Groch
November 2017