The forest is a locale rich with meaning in literature, frequently representing femininity and the inner world or psyche as a dark and mystical setting that lacks the light or “reason” of the male presence. In my pieces, women inhabit the mysterious forest landscape by choice, interacting confidently and comfortably amongst dangerous animals, like wolves and tigers, who often represent cunning male predators. These women create a world for themselves that is not merely in harmony with nature; it is instead a world in which they are free to control their own body and mind.
In researching and re-reading Western fairy tales, I was struck by how some of these tales create narratives in which women are objectified, controlled, or unjustly punished. Using the symbolic language of symbols found in many fairy tales - birds, wolves, forests, food, hair, fairies, and flowers, my paintings explore contemporary notions of identity and womanhood. “The Bloody Chamber” by Angela Carter, along with the work of visual artists like Kiki Smith and Amy Cutler, who extract elements of fairy tales to speak about women’s relationships to animals and nature, have helped me further develop my artistic direction.
My paintings’ mood and messages are affected by the color palette; symbolic elements are brighter and often stand out against untouched white paper. My choice of watercolor as a medium helps create an enigmatic atmosphere. I aim to create a mystical environment in my paintings, depicting women as complex: simultaneously vulnerable and strong. In contrast to many of the tales I drew from, the figures in my paintings are agents of their own destiny.