PAINTINGS > Dirty Laundry

Our relationship with cloth is visceral and primal -- we are swaddled in it at birth and aside from a caregiver’s embrace, fabric is our first experience with touch and comfort. Who of us, in times of turmoil, has not pulled the covers over our head, or wrapped ourselves in a loved one’s shirt, sweater, or scarf? To be covered is to be comforted, protected, and hidden. To wit, cloak is both a garment and an action to shield from sight.

We use cloth to conceal, but also to express, selectively, based on how we see ourselves and how we want others to see us. Of course, we don’t express all facets of our identity, some things we hold near out of habit, nature, or fear of ridicule. We all have dirty laundry, literally and figuratively. Dirty laundry, the phrase, is defined as personal, or private affairs that one does not want made public as they would cause distress and embarrassment. Dirty Laundry, the series, employs contemporary fabrics painted over traditional American portraiture to explore questions surrounding what, how much, and how well we share and hide.

In these hand-painted recreations of historic works, fabrics are staged on a model in the studio, lit from the same direction and with the same temperature as the light source in the original painting, then drawn into the final composition. Bold, bright, and colorful fabrics cover all, or significant portions of the portrait. Viewers get few clues about the sitters, save an exposed hand, piece of jewelry, or beloved pet, all superficial details chosen to be revealed. Only in a painting’s title do we learn the subject’s identity, anything more that might be known about these people remains hidden beneath piles of cloth and clothing so ubiquitous it could be our own. The towering fabric head dress on "Bashi-Bazouk" and heap of shirts on "Mary Greene" appear poised for imminent toppling, while others, like those enveloping "Mrs. Freeman Flower" and "Portrait of a Lady" look well-secured. This leaves us wondering what is hidden and what might be revealed should the fabrics fall, but also probes on how our perception of these subjects might change once uncovered and which subjects we’d prefer to be.

Dirty Laundry gives us the opportunity to question the security of our own concealments. What are we concealing from ourselves and others? What would it mean for the parts we conceal to be exposed? How would others react to our dirty laundry?

Various Fabrics: Bashi-Bazouk (after Gérôme)
oil + acrylic on canvas
44 x 30 in (112 x 76 cm)
2021
American Portrait I: Elizabeth Murray (after Copley)
oil + acrylic on canvas
72 x 54 in (183 x 137 cm)
2022
Various Fabrics: Margareta Rees (after van der Werff)
acrylic on canvas
56 x 44 in (142 x 112 cm)
2022
Various Fabrics: Portrait of Catherine Hill (after Copley)
acrylic on canvas
42 x 34 in (107 x 86 cm)
2022
Various Fabrics: Janet Carmichael (after Ramsay)
acrylic on canvas
50 x 36 in (127 x 91 cm)
2022
Black Amazon Fabric Study
oil on canvas
12 x 12 in (30 x 30 cm)
2022
Various Fabrics: Portrait of A Gentleman (after Batoni)
acrylic on canvas
50 x 36 in (127 x 91 cm)
2022
Various Fabrics: Bashi-Bazouk (after Gérôme)
acrylic on canvas
72 x 40 in (183 x 102 cm)
2022
Yellow and Black: Charles Carroll (after Reynolds)
acrylic on canvas
42 x 34 in (107 x 87 cm)
2022
Pattern No. 3: Portrait of A Youth In An Embroidered Vest (after Lemoine)
oil + acrylic on canvas
36 x 30 in (91 x 76 cm)
2022
Blue and Maroon: Golding Constable (after Constable)
acrylic on canvas
42 x 34 in (107 x 86 cm)
2022
Portrait (White)
oil + acrylic on canvas
28 x 22 in (71 x 56 cm)
2022
Portrait (Black)
oil + acrylic on canvas
28 x 22 in (71 x 56 cm)
2022
Portrait of A Gentleman (Gold)
oil + acrylic on canvas
28 x 22 in (71 x 56 cm)
2021
Portrait of A Gentleman (Pink)
oil + acrylic on canvas
28 x 24 in (71 x 61 cm)
2021
Red and Black: Mrs. Freeman Flower (after Highmore)
acrylic on canvas
44 x 36 in (112 x 91 cm)
2021
White Amazon Fabric Study
oil on canvas
12 x 12 in (30 x 30 cm)
2022
The Artist’s Wardrobe: Mary Greene (after Copley)
acrylic on canvas
56 x 44 in (142 x 112 cm)
2022
Portrait of A Lady (Blue)
oil + acrylic on canvas
24 x 20 in (61 x 51 cm)
2021
Various Fabrics: John Park with Dog (after Stuart)
acrylic on canvas
36 x 30 in (91 x 76 cm)
2022
Pride Portrait I: Samuel Hervey (after Peale)
acrylic on canvas
36 x 30 in (91 x 76 cm)
2022
Yellow and Blue: Portrait of A Lady (after Hudson)
acrylic on canvas
42 x 34 in (107 x 86 cm)
2022
Blue Amazon Fabric Study
oil on canvas
14 x 10 in (36 x 25 cm)
2021
Pattern No. 4: Winslow Warren (after Copley)
acrylic on canvas
30 x 26 in (76 x 66 cm)
2022
Various Fabrics: Queen Henriette Maria (after van Dyck)
oil + acrylic on canvas
30 x 28 in (76 x 71 cm)
2021
Pattern No. 2, Ignatius Sancho
acrylic on canvas
34 x 28 in (86 x 71 cm)
2021
Pattern No. 1, Samuel Verplanck
acrylic on canvas
34 x 28 in (86 x 71 cm)
2021