In The Art of Poetry, Horace writes: “as is a painting, so is poetry.” He argues that a painting may be interpreted in a similar way as poem. I am interested in the relationship between the painter and subject because of its parallel relationship between the author and speaker. The written “I” of the speaker is separate from the author in a similar way that the self-portrait is not the painter but a symbolic representation. Akin to how William Wordsworth could not truly represent what he was in “Lines Written A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey” and instead used substitutions, I too am using another form as a means of self-representation.
My Attraction to the human skull originates from Paul Cézanne’s Pyramid of Skulls, and the 16th – 17th century Northern European theme of vanitas. Initially, I followed the skull’s tradition and looked for beauty in their ephemeral symbolism. However, in painting skulls over a period of three years, they have now become my own. What is important to me is the physical medium of oil paint—its ability to simultaneously convey the brush’s movement and my own emotional content. Here, the skulls act not only as a metonymy for myself, but also as a vehicle for the paint—as a way to explore color, viscosity, texture, pattern, and mark of brush.