Throughout my series, I Believe in Ghosts, I reference vanitas — 17th century Dutch still lifes — to draw on the tradition of sharing a moral lesson. Vanitas paintings present an array of objects as symbols to remind us of the transience and vanity of human existence and earthly possessions and pleasures. My modern interpretation of vanitas puts the female figure directly in the composition, exploring transience of innocence, value, and agency relating to female identity. I use symbolism and allusion to convey the tension between objectifying the female body and recognizing the rich interiority of the female subject.
Objects have histories, yet are unable to speak them — what does it really mean to treat women as objects?
Today I wanted to share my painting Bald Eagle which I made to be representative of women taking stronger and more prominent roles in politics -- Notice the feather quills on her blouse -- She's rewriting history! I'm with Kamala Harris and wish her and Joe Biden every success.
Ourself Behind Ourself, Concealed, from my I Believe in Ghosts series, is exhibiting for the first time in a group exhibition at Verum Ultimum Gallery in Portland, Oregon. From the organizer: "Chasing Ghosts V is a collection of art that pierces the veil through remembrance, legacy, and beyond."
Experience the works in person or online here.
Chasing Ghosts V from October 25 - November 28, 2020
Verum Ultimum Art Gallery
3014 NE Ainsworth Ave,
Portland, OR 97211
I am hosting a live virtual open studio as part of ArtSpan's 2020 San Francisco Open Studios. You may be thinking -- What does that even entail? I will be live in my studio on video chat happily talking about everything from my new work to my creative process, and available to chat with you face-to-face and answer any questions you might have. The interface is similar to a Zoom meeting, and the Booth Central platform is set up so you can visit with me, as well as 60+ Bay Area artists at your leisure on October 3rd. It's definitely going to be a fun and memorable year for my open studio, and I hope to see you there, from wherever you are in the world!
Good to know:
I'm pleased to share that my 2016 painting, America: She Was Asking For It, was included in an important new book, Not Normal: Art in the Age of Trump.
I am one of 147 artists responding to socio-political issues in the age of Trump. While the content is serious, flipping through the pages is cathartic. This powerful collection of 350+ artworks was curated by Karen M. Gutfreund, Independent Curator.
Copies of "Not Normal" are available to purchase here.
America: She Was Asking For It was born in a nightmare I had on the night of the 2016 presidential election. It depicts a revealing portrait of not only America’s elected Head of State but also his wife and Vice President and Mrs. Pence.
A variety of symbols evoke both an immediate visceral reaction, such as the confederate flag, as well as an ongoing discovery of depravity represented as small painted details, such as the pins, that reveal contradictions and hypocrisy.
I utilized the bright coloring effects of gouache to capture the flashy tone of media imagery and intentionally made the work small to emphasize the insufficient attention and transitory coverage given to these issues by the media.
Me and I and her and she all come together for a visual update on the evolution of I Believe in Ghosts.
Left to right:
We Hunt the Doe, oil on linen, 42 x 49 inches, work in progress
Ourself Behind Ourself, Concealed, oil on linen, 51 x 39 inches, July 2020
Minds Pass Minds Be They Occupied, 50 x 68 inches, oil on linen, work in progress
This is the third painting in my series, I Believe in Ghosts, and one of the pieces I've been most keen to paint. I've been vigorously working to cover the canvas and see the the image come to life at it's intended size. Work in progress, "We Hunt the Doe," oil on linen, 42 x 49 inches.
Victory! I've completed the first pass over this BIG canvas, aka the fourth painting in my series, I Believe in Ghosts, which simply means every surface now has paint on it. Next I will begin making corrections and refining what's on the canvas. Then it's on to color! Work in progress, oil on linen, 50 x 68 inches.
Like so many others, I am currently under orders to shelter-in-place due to Covid 19. As an artist and introvert, this practice doesn't greatly impact my typical day-to-day, but I am aware that as much as I am content being alone, others are not. These are strange and uncertain times and it's in my heart to help lift spirits and alleviate some of the stress faced during this time of extreme change. With that, I would like to share an activity I made for you and the children in your life.
I've made two of my animal portraits into coloring pages that can be printed at home, colored and enjoyed. I hope these provide a little joy and entertainment. And I'd love to see what you create! Please share with me on instagram @jamie_luoto or use #ColoringWithJamie.
The beginnings of I Believe in Ghosts Portrait 4, title TBD.
I created this space to showcase my past work, chronicle my current projects, and share my inspiration.