Abby Olsen | Painting
These paintings are an intuitive exploration and representation of my mind through the figure. I have been fascinated with faces for as long as I can remember. I find myself obsessed with the ways that a minute change in the shape of an eye or the slight upturn of the mouth can signify so much emotion. 70% of communication is nonverbal, and in my practice, I use these subtleties to explore the figure in psychological spaces.
I find myself influenced by the world and the people around me, especially through film, animation, and storytelling. In some of my paintings, I compose faces with bigger eyes and an altered face ratio making the faces more palatable and non confrontational. Other figures pull influence from my love of horror. The gaze of the long gangly figures creates an uncanny and unsettling feeling. Other paintings stem from my love for art history and classical figurative painting. Right now, I find myself returning to the figures of the Impressionist and Baroque period with artists like Renoir and Artemisia Gentileschi.
Some of these paintings I created during a time when things were good, full of hope, emerging from that dark place. Some of the paintings are expressions of the humour I find in my life. Some of the paintings are from a time of pure heartbreak, but they all live in an environment of whimsy, existing in a state of peace or complacency.
I battle dissociation. I often find it is easier to live in my head rather than be an active participant in my life. I approach the canvas, brush in hand, and the result is a tangible representation of my intangible state of mind. It is a deep and enduring struggle for me to represent the difficulty and the pain one goes through whilst remaining true to all parts of myself. This collection of paintings represents my ever evolving understanding of myself as an artist and as a person.