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  • Writer's picturePeggy Nichols

Serena Potter, an artist whose works are influenced thru the lens of the self-narrative.

On Drawing: 'I was once asked in an interview, which was my predominant medium, painting or drawing? I refused to pick one.

The curator kept trying to get me to pick one over the other and I could not. At times, I need to draw and at other times I need to paint. I am equally proficient in both. Each is a different experience for me.

I draw when I need a more tactile experience, to get my hands dirty. When painting, there is a certain separation between the hand and the paint brush. But when I am drawing I am closer to the surface, using vine, or stick charcoal, dust along with pencils. I am moving the charcoal across the surface with rags, paper towels, lifting with shammy cloth or kneaded eraser.

I tend build a drawing to a certain level of resolution, then deconstruct parts of the drawing, rubbing out, or shading over, pushing and pulling value, texture, edges and transitions. Some subjects need to be presented in a monochromatic medium, where color, saturation and temperature might interfere in the narrative to take it a different direction.'

'This Woman's World', mixed charcoal on cotton rag paper, 50 x 38 inches.

'Sharing Scars', mixed media, charcoal on cotton rag paper, 26 x 34 inches.

'Inspection', mixed charcoal, pastel, carbon one cotton rag paper, 28 x 34 inches.

On Painting and Drawing:

'This show is comprised of pieces from several series, both oil paintings on canvas or birch panel, and charcoal drawings on cotton rag paper.

Though they differ in medium and aesthetic, they are united in that they are all tell a story.

The drawings employ themes of reflection, duality, private self versus public self and the pressure we feel to present a certain imposed standard of youth and perfection to the world.

These drawings represent myself, and others who are close to me, in moments of self-appraisal. The viewer often takes on the roll of the mirror, creating a sense of voyeurism, as they have stepped into a private space.

They and the more tenebristic paintings included in the show, are notable for their use of chiaroscuro inspired by the dramatic cinematic lighting and compositional elements used in film noir. The paintings reflect the still, luminous light and close space, of masters such as George De La Tour and Caravaggio.

Then we have a series of paintings that contrast the vibrant hues and higher key palette reminiscent of the golden age American Illustrators (such as Norman Rockwell and J.C. Lyendecker), with a sardonic narrative, that places adults in childlike situations.

By pairing contemporary and vintage elements, the paintings speak to the transitory nature of time, and the relevance of early experience in shaping who we become.

Certain imagery has begun to emerge and re-cycle through the work, eggs being one of them. They have come to represent those things that we as women nurture and protect, they are fragile but also embody a certain strength.

My work is largely personal, drawing on my own challenges and those of friends and family to evoke a response from the viewer. My goal is to create art that will draw people in, and allow them to connect, to ask questions and ultimately, to find their own stories in the work.'

'Peeper', oil on canvas, 36 x 20 inches

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