Over the course of my career, I have worked with bronze, glass, paper and paint. In each material relationship, there is a question that I am pushed to ask both myself and the material—“How can this interaction deepen my understanding of the larger moment?” Due to this specific exploration, my work is largely autobiographical, an improvisational conversation between environment, material and body. Each piece begins without preconception of the outcome, only with an effort to express the internal.
Currently, paint is a medium that feels closest to the body; when I paint, my hand has a direct role in constructing a visual reality. It is a poetic and liberating interaction, one that allows me to create and manipulate environments and our physical relationship to them. While these paintings are very rooted in my own experience and material relationships, the use of color, gesture and marks all contribute to abstract pieces that are meant to engage each viewer uniquely, in the context of their own moment.
Past works were about relating the natural world to the constructed world, juxtaposing nature with geometry, architecture and language. Within the last year, my paintings have been inspired by the political and cultural environment. These current works are heavily process-centered—a meditation and reconciliation on unprecedented divisiveness, collective suffering, climate disasters and social outrage. Many include multistage underpaintings with obscuring squeegee over-paintings. Some are directly gestural while others are more focused on patterning and mark making. The work embodies hope and optimistic faith in the cyclical nature of time. As events continue to unfold and overlap, they continually change the meaning and visibility of these experiences. My paintings capture this evolution, challenging the viewer to engage with the tumult of life’s moments, interactions and observations.
Mary Chomenko Hinckley February, 2021
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