About My Solo Exhibition

Raw 2011 pastel on paper 8 x 5 inches



10th Street east

Greenwich Village, NY 10010

At my solo exhibition at the Pen & Brush in Greenwich Village, I had a special conversation with someone I feel proud to count as a friend, an abstract sound artist originally from Scotland.  We were connecting across our different art mediums about how we both try to get to that place of no thinking and how we do so in part by starting a new piece from where we left off with the last one.  He starts with his previous composition of sounds and then from there branches out into the unknown;  whereas I start often with the dregs of paint that have settled to the bottom of my paint thinner jar from my last painting.  Somehow starting with a piece of something previous allows us both to feel a bit of foundation somehow releasing us to move into the unknown.  I could talk to him for hours, but I feel blessed to have had that talk amidst my paintings.

One of the things I learned from this exhibition is how less is more.  My paintings definitely look best with space around them to be able to visually take them in without distraction.  Also, because they are very colorful, they seem to work well when I intersperse the color with the black and white.  That was amazing to see that when we were installing the show.

At the opening I met so many really nice people.  For someone who used to be a bitch-magnet (I guess I used to somehow unconsciously veer toward bitches because of my past) - it really is quite victorious for me to be able to proclaim that not one single person was bitchy.  Sure there might have been a comment her or there that might have not sit well but not once was I overcome with a feeling that someone was out to put me down.  Big victory.  In fact, there was a group of women in particular that I am thinking of - four of them.  I had the best time talking to them.  I think I broke the ice when I just came out with it and told one that she reminded me of Darryl Hannah and that the other one reminded me of Julianne Moore.  Hahaha!

Three Women 2005 oil on canvas 36 x 24 inches

Women are always relieved when they realize someone who is nice looking etc. is not a bitch!  One of them (Julianne Moore look-a-like) is a docent at The Met and she was joking around about how she would talk to a group about one of my paintings (Face It).  It was a riot!  Matter-of-fact, there was a time when I was like fodder for these women.  Above in Three Women, there is my mother, my grandmother and my sister.  I painted it from a dream.  I think I was too flattering spiritually to my sister who I always loved despite everything because I think I portrayed her vulnerable side as opposed to her viper side.  In the dream my grandmother was dead but still had a hold on my mother.  My grandmother was much more formidable when she was alive - let’s face it - she produced my mother - so she must have been a piece of work in her own right.  My mother was a Scorpio.  Actually, that explains a lot.  If you want to ignore reality and family dynamics and attribute everything to the stars, I am Sagittarius - friendly and always wanting people to be happy and my mother was Scorpio and my sister was Leo.  Anyway, I got away and left the upkeep of the family name to my sister.  That’s why she looks so overwhelmed I think.

I wrote more about the why I painted Three Women and its meaning to me in my blog entry of August 24, 2009 entitled, Why I Painted Three Women.

So there I am in the first little painting above, I guess, and then there are the three women I escaped from.

On to a more pleasant thought...

The very first visitor to the exhibition was this nice old guy who asked me the question, “Why do you paint?”  I’m sorry, but I think that is a really stupid question that I would have a hard enough time talking about with a therapist let alone a strange old man that I just met.  Somehow I mustered up a good response along the lines of that I am trying to reach a place where I don’t have to think  - and that seemed to sit well with him.  I ended up having a long chat with him and he ended up singing me a song.   Yes, there I was, trying not to be nervous at my reception of my very first real solo exhibition and this man is actually singing me a song.  It really was quite magical and I won’t forget it.  I was feeling pretty darned good about the whole thing  - and then when he left he told me he thinks my paintings are good but my books are better, but then he qualified it by saying he meant more powerful.  

Well – no kidding.  But that is a story for another day!

More About My Solo Exhibition

Celebration 2011 oil, charcoal on canvas 40 x 12 inches (detail)

Tomorrow is the last day and I must say I think I am ready to move on.  Not for any bad reason at all, it’s just promoting your work is way different than creating it!

It has been such a very positive experience and I feel I gained a lot from the discussions I have had with some of the visitors.  Also, I feel very touched by the kindness and interest people have shown me - and my work.  I must say, some patrons really get into it - asking all sorts of questions and making all sorts of esoteric observations.  “You seem to paint black and white when you are in transition on to a new thing,” one guy said, and “Here you seemed to have lost some of the form from the previous one and allowed the images to emerge, whereas in that one you seem to have erased some of the images and then brought some back.”  “Is that George Washington?”  “I like your black and white best!”  “I think Big G and Ganesh are your strongest!” 

One comment many made was that they were really moved by my books.

My books made a public debut during this exhibit.  They are extremely personal, but when I was trying to come up with an authentic artist’s statement, I just had to dust them off because really I don’t think there could possibly be a more powerful artist’s statement, even if I do say so myself. 

I don’t mean to be tantalizing or anything, but I will put more on this blog about my books.  It’s just that I have to be careful that I don’t end up regretting it.  I just have to be very careful.  A lot of times people that have suffered severe trauma share too much and end up feeling overexposed. If I just put one picture on to express this sentiment I am thinking what would it be?   Hmmm… 

Wow 1993 gouache on wartercolor paper 9 x 12 inches 

This is what I wrote about this painting when I made my book first art/poetry book called Painting 1 - from paintings I had made 10 years before that:

I remember painting this ten years ago as if it were yesterday.  I piled on the paint, building up the reds, until I saw an image.  Then, to me it was like - WOW!  I can’t believe I have captured the flashback so well.  I can’t tell the exact when or where of seeing the death of my brother, but that’s what this is about: THe violence, the separation, the trauma and the loss. Even now - wow (July 9, 2003)

So many Artist’s Statements that I have read seem to me to be nauseating and so I have always tried to avoid making one.  But, in the last few years I have had to produce one on various occasions.

My current artist statement, I feel really is a true statement about me and why I paint.  It is short but honest as to why I paint: 

ARTIST’S STATEMENT (*Note 11/20/2013: I have changed my artist statement since then!)

I see my paintings as representations of my ongoing internal processes and struggles to accept my own value, purpose and strength.  To paint with feeling and trust my own instincts is what is most important to me in my work.  By doing so, not only am I painting authentically, I am also sending a healing message to myself that carries over into everything I do.  When I paint I am testifying to whoever sees my work:  I am who I am; I won’t be silenced, and I won’t give up.  Hopefully others can take that away and believe it too.  I dedicate my work to all who struggle to overcome severe early trauma. 

Rock Garden 2011 acrylic, charcoal on canvas 60 x 36 inches (3 details)


originally published: August 20, 2011

© Trixie Pitts 2009