Artist's Statement—Making art is my way of making connections between issues I face. Although I use thumb-nail sketches before starting a work, the process is never illustrative. The process is more of a spiritual journey that allows me to go deeper into who I am called to be. It is my way of opening me up, awakening me, challenging me, helping me to make sense of my life. Although the imagery often draws on my personal history, I believe the symbols require the viewer's own elucidation. I hope that the work engages viewers on many levels.
The thematic issues are ones that have resonated with me for many years. My lifelong interest in the dissolution of the natural landscape, in our near-certain environmental catastrophe, is the starting place for much of my work. The web site 350.org is a daily reminder of the devastation of carbon pollution. For example, I lived near Cleveland when the Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969. The 'burning river' image is so evocative to me that I explore it again and again. I use different media to explore different qualities in the image. In the two works in this exhibit, I used layers of thin washes on kozo paper to create a luminous quality. In contrast, when I wanted a ruinous, corroded, annihilated landscape, I experimented with crackle paste, rusting iron paint, and otherworldly skies made of copper patinas.
Artists who have influenced me most in these works include Nancy Spero, Anselm Kiefer and the many artists who create Mexican Votive paintings. Each addresses the political as personal in ways that are transformational.
My interest in immigrants started when I was a very young child, and worked with my church in actively supporting migrant workers. Most of the work in this exhibit explores issues related to the cruel and dysfunctional immigration system. I have worked closely with Virginia Organizing during the last two years in an effort to get Comprehensive Immigration Reform passed in Congress and in the Virginia legislature.
All artist's proceeds will go to Virginia Organizing, a non-profit, non-partisan group dedicated to making Virginia a more just place for all Virginians. Please contact the artist for details at www.patriciasmith.artspan.com.
Rita Rose and Rae Rose
Artists' Statement—We are twin sisters who have pushed artful expression into a new area of twinship. We decided to combine our talents and skills to produce a single painting and see what happens. This approach has produced new and exciting creativity in color, form, space, texture and expression.
As watercolor and mixed media artists, painting is another link in our twin lives and it gives us a great deal of pleasure.
We let the type of paper influence the end result. For example, our use of Yupo paper lends itself to a fluid and free flow of the paint. This media enables us to interpret our art in a form which is truly free.
We capture different moods through texture in our mixed media paintings and we like to experiment with unusual materials.
Being identical twins is special and we think alike most of the time and cooperate easily and freely. We express our different thoughts without hesitation and critiquing each other is inspiring. We feel we have a unique gift because we are identical twins.