Updated: Sep 29
Countless artists have been inspired by the work of Frida Kahlo and I am no exception. Her strong use of universal themes of pain, loss, love and desire are wrought with powerful symbolism. Her uncommon style of robust portraits simultaneously reflect passion and vulnerability with a sensitivity uniquely her own.
A few years go I had the pleasure of viewing a Frida Kahlo exhibition at the NSU Art Museum in South Florida. It was my first time coming face-to-face with her work, and it had a profound effect on me. I have always believed there is a residual energy in all artwork that is left behind by an artist after a piece is completed, and that day at the museum I felt Kahlo’s enduring spirit.
After my experience with her work I set out to create a series of pieces inspired by Kahlo’s compelling compositions. The idea was not to draw a parallel between our lives; I would never attempt to compare myself to such a influential figure or try to correlate my life experience with the incredible physical pain and suffering she endured. Instead I set out to construct a body of work that serves as a conduit for both personal and universal narratives as seen through the lens of masculine archetypes and symbols. I began each piece with a mixed media collage of blue prints, road maps, bus tickets, letters of correspondence and various other items of paper ephemera which invoke the nostalgia of my Midwestern upbringing and the roots of my artistic cultivation. Vintage sales slips, receipts and invoices to serve as a reminder of the importance of paper as a record of human history, and also the fleetingness of a life reduced to ephemeral moments.
The inverse silhouettes -symbolizing the 'everyman'- are transferred over the collage simultaneously concealing and revealing themselves throughout the layered compositions. The black squares act as a framework for a void each one containing an image as an embodiment of nature, science, history or the physical form.