Mariah Boyle

Posted in Capstone Exhibitions

As a woman, I am intrigued with the accentuation of traditional, female gender roles. I ponder where my activities, rituals and reactions fit within society’s construct. Notions of romanticism and a sense of uncontrollable urgency often permeate my work. This brings to light how there is always something that keeps our lives from being perfect; the objectified ideal. Because of this, I am very interested in the conflict between vulnerability and moments of strength and courage.

I find that much of my identity is linked to the loss of important people in my life, especially women I had been very close to. A rampant theme throughout my work suggests a loss of immediate control in a particular situation, a time and place that has been fractured.

Allowing myself to explore these feelings of grief and healing, life and death, permanence versus the temporary; has permitted me to create a world of staged, dreamlike illusions where my characters exist and interact. It is important to me that my work creates a story that visually resembles what could be experienced in a dream or within past memories, intertwined with fable and traditional storytelling. Most of my current works are self portraits.

I use a variety of symbolism based on traditional art history works, stories and personal experiences. For example, goats are a well-known symbol for lust. In Roman mythology they are also a symbol of motherhood. Goats eat dandelions, which are a Christian symbol for grief. In the middle of it is a human character experiencing and reacting to these emotions and ideas. It is in these images’ symbolic connections that suggests a fascinating play between the characters within the drawings.

To me, drawing is exciting because of its direct, uncensored process. All of the marks my hand makes are honest, real and devoid of a barrier between the artist and the drawing surface. Drawings can stand alone or be built upon by using a large array of additional materials. Building upon the original drawing is often a complex task because the process lends itself to more experimentation than the original drawing may have presented. Creating works in alternative mediums allows me to engage in a ritual of process and linear decision-making that effects how the work will turn out in the end.

Due to my intuitive desire to ignore uncomfortable and difficult experiences, the process of working with volatility and into an eventual controlled environment gives me a sense of humility while understanding the troubles from which I’ve come and where my art emerges.

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