Mary Porterfield.

ARTIST STATEMENT: Painting allows me to bring organization to situations I perceive as overwhelming. Space, form and line are the tools I use to bring unity to the conflicted worlds I am compelled to depict. I often reference acts of nature to represent situations that are out of control, both literally and figuratively.

My Catholic upbringing, symbolized through overpowering landscapes, has been a particular influence on my work. Sweeping vistas, geysers and volcanic eruptions are comprised of religious paradigms and saints, who completed seemingly heroic acts by giving unconditionally. Multi-figured narratives and metaphors depict my struggle to balance these ideals with the need to nurture oneself. I juxtapose layered allegories in an attempt to ask and resolve: Does it take more courage to be selfless or self-seeking? Is being meek a sign of weakness or strength? Is it wrong to doubt religious ideals or is it admirable? Through the dichotomous nature of the work, my intention is to create a metaphysical discussion regarding the struggle to live a compassionate life.

Mary’s work is currently showing at Packer-Schopf Gallery (942 West Lake St, Chicago, Il) from July 8th-Aug. 13th.


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