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Deborah Boardman     Bio   Statement            Favorites & Guest Book     Messenger
Recently I saw a small painting in the Louvre by a student of David, Leon-Mathieu Cochereau, "Interior of the Studio of David". The painting depicts 12 students of David's engaged in various aspects of painting in the decidedly unglamorous and unassuming environment of David's studio. Each student is completely absorbed in his activity, mixing paints, drawing from the model or reaching up to take an empty canvas from a shelf. Cochereau's modest painting is a revelation, offering a model for the state of absorption I seek to experience in my studio practice. I was especially keen on the image of the artist reaching for a canvas on a wooden shelf, supported by mildly ornamental brackets. The shelf references both flatness and dimensionality. Sagging and irregular and decidedly hand-made, I made my shelf version both an actual support constructed in paper and a recurring motif in my studio paintings. From Lawrence Gowing's Paintings from the Louvre, I found many images of artists working and artist self-portraits that evoke a kind of heroism via self-reflection. I construct the portraits on top of my own recycled gouache paintings, cutting them first into emblem forms, and then gluing 12 layers together to make a pleasing thickness (recycling is a small gesture in the face of feeling overwhelmed by what seems to be the looming death of nature). Inspired by Baroque window architecture, I started making emblem shapes in 1993 when I first visited the Czech Republic on an artist residency. My emblems reference heraldic shields and their many permutations of symbolic and ornamental representation. The heraldic shield both protects and identifies. An infinite variety of forms are possible. In my studio paintings, the self-reflective space of Cochereau's work has led me to moments of full absorption, when my painting and emblems become vehicles for personal transformation.
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