My “Below the Surface” series depicts classic images reminiscent of old Hollywood. They are full of gesture, spontaneity, and motion, and on the surface explore notions of glamorous femininity through the black dress, stiletto heels, and black stockings. But like all women and all artistic expression, there is much below the surface.
These images were shot underwater, giving my model and I mere moments to capture a pose before the pull of the water changed the image forever. For me, it was an exploration of the past and the future, the vulnerability and the sense of unbalance we feel when everything changes – in my case, the loss of my mother. You are forever held in that moment in time, while at the same time compelled to move forward, willingly or not.
These photographs were printed on tissue paper in multiple pieces, which were imbedded within layers of hot beeswax and pigments to create a more textural piece. As part of the process, I cropped the images out of their underwater environment so that viewers can bring their own memories and sensibility to the work.
Still, this series is personal to me. Several of the dresses photographed belonged to my mother, imbuing the images with her timeless sense of style. But the mixed-media layering process I use helps transform her dresses and these images into something unique and new. In this work, as in my life, I’m piecing together what time has changed.
Encaustic, beeswax, watercolor, photograph, oil pigments