Jessica Burke to come and speak about her art
My paintings are a means of communication. They allow me to express my reaction to issues about gender and sexuality, specifically concentrating on the idea of femininity within the context of lesbian stereotypes. I paint the human figure as a vehicle for the assertion of identity. This work deals with the isolation and compartmentalization of homosexuality. The figure is solitary, dominating the picture plane. She lives within an ambiguous and intimate space devoid of culturally induced associations. She owns the space, allowing only a single object or “attribute” to share that space. This object in some way references a particular stereotype or identity. I am aware of the mysteriously narrative aspect of the work. I encourage the viewer to find a way to relate to the figure through his or her own eyes and reality. In my paintings, I attempt to express the shifting psychological moods of my sitters through color choice and nebulous unidentified background environments. I am compelled to present the individuals as contemplative ordinary people. Some of their gestures reflect a sense of displacement and rejection that I feel directly relates to the gender bias and sexuality stereotyping that still exists in our society. In other works the pose is aggressive or quietly confrontational. I feel that there is a need to confront the viewer. To assess their own prejudice based on their reaction to the image.
I think there is a basic human need to connect to the art that they see, to relate to it and give it power. One of the ways I relate to my art is through the varied influences of other painters. I find myself looking at the psychological impact of Lucian Freud, the technical expertise Paul Cadmus and the paint quality of Wayne Thiebaud. I am also drawn to some more contemporary artists like Nicole Eisenman and Catherine Opie.