ARTIST STATEMENT

My work explores topics related to human behavior, mental health, social taboos, social stereotypes, and social influence. It also offers an ironic discourse on issues such as self-objectification and on existentialist matters such as the fragility of life, the state of being ill, and its outcomes. I paint small worlds that articulate these themes by utilizing women as my main subject, emphasizing aesthetics, using symbols and constructing a narrative.


My new series embodies themes related to the fragility of life, mental health and illnesses associated with personal experiences and to other people’s experiences that have impacted me or that I am identified with. The pandemic has increased my thoughts on these matters and my desire to incorporate it into my art. Since 2007, I have experienced health challenges, the sudden loss of loved ones, my mother's illness, and her passing in 2020. From 2007 to 2013, I worked on a series of paintings related to these events titled "As in Christina’s World." My new series is the second part, which incorporates stories related to the pandemic. 


My images center on women and girls in ordinary interiors, portrayed in grayscale shades and glazes on acrylic on canvas. I study sign processes, signification, and communication of the stories I portray, and by using symbols, I depict images that generate diverse meanings. I surround my women with objects and furniture that hint at their stories. My stories are represented by women I depict stories of women or girls that have impacted me, that I feel identified with or experiences I have lived. I use some typical elements that represent different types of clowns because I compare our lives and fragility with a circus clown show. We base our lives on plans and projects despite the irony that we will inevitably die in an instant. A circus clown show involves years of training and preparation that will end immediately the makeup is removed, and the lights are turned off. 


My subjects are ambiguous with their posture on morality, violence, sensuality, taboos, and existentialism. The stories depicted within those images bounce between real-life facts, masked emotions, repressed memories, unexpressed arguments, and the underlying meanings. My paintings never show complete stories. Associations and meanings collide, and this results in the fact that the viewer can easily imagine an own interpretation without being hindered by the historical reality. My images sometimes emanate latent violence, which creates a disconcerting beauty. The visual seductiveness, along with the use of symbols, further complicates the reception of their layers of meaning. 


My work is inspired by stories of women I have met, conversations, and personal experiences. I am also interested in understanding the social influence on human thoughts and behavior. I am fascinated by the ephemeral nature of the mind and the fragility of life. With influences as diverse as Rembrandt, Matisse, and Balthus, I synthesize new variations from both explicit and implicit discourse. 



I try to leave the viewer orphaned with a mix of conflicting feelings and thoughts to start conversations about the stories I am portraying. With my current series, I want to start a dialogue about the fragility of life, physical and mental illness in the environment of a community conflict such as COVID-19 to encourage expression, so people embrace the fragility of life and make the most out of it.

Los Minutos © 2017 | Acrylic on canvas | 30"x20"

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© 2018 by Paula Saneaux. All Rights Reserved. Washington DC | info@paulasaneaux.com