My visual art emerges from my interest in women artist’s interventions into traditions of the portrait. I am endlessly delighted and intrigued by women’s self-portraits and women artists portraits of anyone. I am also fascinated by the intersection of biography and artistic practice in the lives of artists like Elizabeth Layton, Alice Neel, Paula Modersohn-Becker, and Nan Goldin.
When I was in graduate school in Philadelphia, studying American literature, my friend Ross Gay gave me a bunch of acrylic paints, and I started painting more with acrylics on board, making expressionistic self-portraits. Then when I had a postdoc at Fordham University, I taught a Women’s Art and Literature class in which we drew on work of Paula Rego, Kara Walker, Kiki Smith, Ana Mendieta, Cindy Sherman, Carrie Mae Weems, and many others, and that was a wonderful chance to continue thinking about contemporary women’s art.
In recent years, I’ve been drawing and making watercolor portraits, sometimes with my son and sometimes on my own. I’ve also begun drawing comics and one-panel cartoons to amuse my friends and to reflect on the events of “my life and times.” Other recent work explores the figure of the horror movie mom, a subject Jessica Mesman and I also discuss in the melancholy moms substack.