Love Letters

Acrylic, Graphite, and Conte Paintings on book and paper.

Collection of love letters written by historical figures and famous lovers throughout the ages. The phrases of the hand-written pieces correspond to loving, passionate, sometimes humorous excerpts from each letter, the text partially obscured by paint ground.

In these pieces, I appropriate a pre-existing text, here letters, and obscure the original document which serves to act as a mirror for the ideas, needs, and desires of the viewer. The idea of covering is twofold: First, simply, that these are private letters. Intimate thoughts and words, often delivered in secret, hidden, intended to be between two people, and their eyes alone. Secondly, the hidden words act as a metaphor for the subconscious – an awareness and the thoughts that exist just under the surface, almost out of reach, barely perceptible. The unspoken that I believe exists in us all. As the words are concealed and the paint eventually dries, small, seemingly trivial details – random words and phrases emerge, as if bubbling from the subconscious, while the larger picture and context are erased.

Certainly, this work is about human emotion — the spectrum from love to hate, or indifference rather, and all the messiness in-between. While these pieces may seem simple in execution, the concept runs deeper. I take much time pondering, searching for just the correct phrase to write on the finished piece. It must resonate with me. If not initially, then after I obliterate the text. The words often find me. The paint, which resembles Rorschach inkblots, forms a ground from which I tease out words. I purposely scribble, giving the work a dashed-off quality, another metaphor for emotion. For me, anything "too perfect," too calligraphic would just be robotic and negate the feeling. Beauty in imperfection. The pieces become a palimpsest of sorts, subverting and transforming language, creating a new form.

 

© Cynthia Grow 2019

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