I have always been interested in the space between factual record, the defacing of memory, and myth making. As a painter, I am interested in making a visual object that has physical presence. Sources sometime include old photographs—some well known, others less so. I distort the images before painting - or obscuring - them. The line between truth and fiction is a source of imaginative "revision" guiding the work. While respecting the image’s original context, I am also claiming the image as personal. When I appropriate a photograph, its source is evident (usually through a title—for example, “Capa’s D-Day” or “Lange’s Migrant Mother"), but the context is re-imagined.
As an art student in the 1980s, I was influenced by two particular art movements. One was postmodern photography, which, partly, addressed ideas about authorship, female representation and fictional narratives. Among the artists I admired were: Barbara Kruger, Sherrie Levine, Barbara Bloom, Jeff Wall, Cindy Sherman, Annette Lemieux, and Christian Boltanski. Another art style which impressed me was Neo-Expressionism, and New Image painting. Susan Rothenberg, Pat Steir, Francesco Clemente, Miquel Barcelo, and Anselm Kiefer were just a few of the artists whose work I found rich and substantial.
I would say my work relates in a kind of hybrid form to these two distinct schools. Elements of color, space, shape, line are of equal importance in a picture as are ideas about memory, authority, fact and fiction.
Mary Behrens 2017