Robin Walker Arnitz

Artist Statement

My recent acrylic and ink paintings are a series of self-portraits where I remove my body from the image. Each piece is dedicated to an ex-boyfriend or date. My goal is that the relatable subject matter makes the viewer stay long enough with each work to glean the weightier content in the paintings. This allows the viewer time to test her aesthetic boundaries — especially with dichotomies such as beauty and ugliness, kitsch and serious art, sweetness and lewdness, depth and flatness.

The sources for these works are old family photographs and staged photos using objects I acquired at the time referenced in the painting. 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. In this series, I investigate the gray area of when someone else’s influence causes one to lose her identity. In these paintings, my clothing, makeup, hair, the objects around me, and the subconscious pen and brush marks become signifiers of my identity at different times of my life.

Ideas in my work are often expressed through process. Areas of controlled technique alternate with expressive drawing and painting, encouraging the viewer to consider the interplay of powerful emotion and studied concentration in each work.

Two constant themes in my work are power struggles and a sense of play. 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.