Jessica McCoy

Bedrooms

It is obligatory that the viewer stare into this space. Dissect it, piece by piece. Taking time to look around at the toiletries on a dresser, or the pictures on the walls. It is amazing what you can find out about someone by looking at what they choose to surround themselves with. In a way, the objects within the room become a self-portrait in and of themselves. It is possible that the figure in the paintings could be considered redundant. But you would never say that your shoes or favorite stuffed toy properly defined who you are. And yet, perhaps you cannot be completely defined without them. Both the figure and the objects are included within the space because they are harmonious with one another…and they are so harmonious because they are synonymous with one another.

The composition for these paintings is done in collage form. I photograph the models in a room with the intent of using them for a specific painting. I alter the exposure of the shots to give myself more of a range of color and form. I then cut and paste a room of altered space and proportion.

The fragments are composed in the way that I would choose to look around the room. They are similar to film stills, snap shots of the space that are being committed to memory. The space is negotiated slowly for most. There is a “push pull” within the space. One fragment may pull you to the very surface of the work and the next will push you back into the space. It could be overwhelming if you were not aware of the confines of the room.

The fragments also serve as an obstacle for the viewer. It not only limits the visibility, overlapping potentially crucial information about the scene, but also the coherent progression of time within the painting. It is not a single moment, but a compilation of moments. The viewer can never be truly aware of the time frame, or the action in omitted fragments.For me the space is negotiated slowly at times and frantically at others. There are moments when I feel that I must study quickly. I say quickly because this is a private space. You are uninvited. And there is something foreboding about the shattered surface. I can’t help but see these paintings as crime scenes, but on the surface they are soft and welcoming.

It was never a conscious decision to victimize the female sex in these works. Yet, it is my choice to make the primary figure female. I want the figure to feel approachable, and truthfully, I exploit their weakness. The expressions and postures are unresponsive to their surroundings. I am very aware of the contrast of the sheltered yet threatening environment of these paintings.

I leave it to each viewer to develop a narrative from the fragmented clues.

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