Lizzie Wortham

Artist Statement:

Legs straight, knees bent, pumping the swing brings a reward: wind on your face and possible danger of hurtling into the sky but always coming back. A swing is safe and provides a cardinal (fixed) set point from from which to hurl oneself - like a mother who provides the place that is always safe. Sky, then ground, then sky, then ground, in the momentum the paint is scraped on and off of the surface in long strokes, constantly changing my mind. Through a layered process of drawing, painting, sanding, painting over and scraping off, the materiality of the paint refers to the physical, sensual and visual memory.  The women and girls in abstracted, exaggerated, or fantastic context ambiguously weave in and out of the background, the paint confining and obscuring while defining and articulating.

“It’s too tight” the girl pleaded when Grandma plaited her hair. The girl needed plaiting, plaiting sorts and organizes - it take a mess and makes it neat. So I plaited the paint and the girl, providing order to impressions, nightmares, and the terror of childhood that never quite leaves, building up layers in diagonally overlapping patterns, mingling discrete elements, flowing, twisting and turning over the surface. Then, allowed our bodies to fall into clear blue. Falling as we fell from grace, from innocence. We watch as we fall, watch ourselves, watch each other, watch the watching.

Each painting is a bind; a difficult, restrictive or unresolvable situation needing its edges bound for protection or reinforcement. Bound so it can’t leave the painted world yet can be out of my head. Each painting is a problem, a bind; an image I want to take off like too-tight underwear. The act of painting binds the imaginary to real sensual experience.