Oil Pastel on Canvas
The faces of babies are arresting. What lies behind their compelling surface is simultaneously foreign and familiar to us. In attempt to think about this uncanny feeling, and the complex experience of early and middle childhood, I am creating large-scale drawings in on canvas.
In preparation for these drawings, I use clippings from popular parenting magazines to create reference collages of representations. I am interested in the way the specific ‘image of the child’ portrayed in magazines tends to reflect a one-dimensional child. These representations are hardly idealizations because they portray a vacancy that discounts the complex worlds of expressions and thoughts young children are in possession of. In my drawings, I include some of these representations, but I also build up a terrain of relational interactions that makes suggestions towards a more intricate and knotty narrative that esteems a full and purposeful child.
That I am an educator of very young children means that I see my students in a reality that is defined by rocking the back and forth of ideas and wishes that flow between us. From this play, I find stories of our common life, and in these drawings, I am interested in picturing that reality. I want to think about my own thoughts and process the complex emotional work of teaching and learning-- work that also asks me to tolerate my own earliest memories. I want to pull on something that feels like a narrative of psychological truth and see if I can’t reveal some common ground between the world of children and the world of others.