Portraits of Self
I Believe in Ghosts
I was inspired to paint “I Believe in Ghosts" by examining my own complicated experience of being a woman and the conflicted messages we receive about our selves, our bodies, and our roles.
This portrait questions how experiences, expectations and choices shape female identity. I use light and shadow to accentuate the otherworldly environment: the line is blurred between external presentation and internal carriage, between what is witnessed and what is recounted. The minimal composition emphasizes consideration of the forms, what they symbolize, and how they may relate to one another.
Reduction (Self Portrait)
By working in oil on canvas I directly reference and tackle the centuries of western portraiture and figurative painting in which the male gaze has dominated our understanding and formed our conception of not only the female form, but of a woman’s value, role within society and view of self.
My self portrait presents myself in many ways, including: one view of me looking outward directly at the viewer, and another, my reflected figure contained in an antique gilded mirror. My face, turned out to confront the viewer, is active; my reflected figure is passive. My piece takes on the complexity of subjectivity and objectivity, suggesting and provoking many layers of understanding of the relationships between viewer, artist, and object.
This approach is more direct than many works that have dealt with similar themes, and that’s intentional. It’s my goal to break through — to confront the viewer with their voyeurism, to provoke a direct reaction to me as an artist as well as a woman, and to ask: “Why do you do this to me?”
Sami Reindeer & Sami American
Sami American and Sami Reindeer are companion portraits exploring the complexities of ancestral identity and how it threads together the past, present and future. How can I relate to an identity that was never passed down in the way of traditions? My portrait contemplates the loss of Sami culture through oppression and my family’s emigration from Finland, as well as, the significance in reconnecting to the land and customs of my ancestors.