Robin Walker Arnitz

Artist Statement

My mixed media paintings are a series of portraits in which I remove bodies of the figure, often myself, from the image (with the exception of Tighter). The sources for these works are staged photos, each representing a moment of time in my life. The inspiration for the series began as a way to answer the question of how much of oneself can be lost in relationships (and perhaps why), but it has evolved into a glimpse of the ongoing progress of my self-discovery.

The initial motivation for these works was nervousness about the idea of remarriage. My divorce made me acutely aware of power plays that happen during personal interactions and how we become different people when we are around others. To an extent, the different faces we create are healthy. For example, it’s probably a good idea to interact differently with a client than one would with a friend. However, it’s easy, especially in relationships, to take on someone else’s world. In this series, I investigate the gray area of when another’s influence causes one to lose her identity and how much change is genuine personal growth or healthy adaptation to a particular social environment. In these paintings, clothing, the way the body is moved or presented, makeup, hair, the objects around the figure, and the subconscious mark making become signifiers of shifting identity.

Two constant themes in my work are power struggles and a sense of play through expressive representation of the subjects. I’m thrilled that I was able to combine them in this series. My hope is that these pieces will resonate with the viewers’ processes of introspection, and I invite them to join me in celebrating the joy and freedom of painting.