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  • The Strange Woman

      • Oil on masonite
      • 13 x 11 in. 
      • © 2017
      • 15 x 13 in. (f)
    • My work seeks to explore the nature of humanity and to express the inherent complexity and mystery of our relationships to the world we live in and to each other. Combining familiar imagery in unfamiliar ways, I invent scenarios that can be thought of as puzzles with no right or wrong solutions—and perhaps no solutions for them are possible at all. These puzzles are analogous to the changing and perpetually unresolved nature of life itself. 

       ​The multiplicity of possible readings of symbolisms in my work is central to my concept. However, there are certain elements that I see as being symbols or metaphors for specific aspects of human experience. In my sculptural work there is a particular emphasis on the play between the interior and the exterior. Small figures timidly peering out through windows and doors from inside hybrid architectural/bodily forms symbolize a human desire for an unattainable sense of security. The mysterious, hidden, interior spaces of my sculptures speak about the disparity between our external appearances and the aspects of our inner selves that are unknowable by others. The scenarios in my work usually seem to suggest that some sort of performance is taking place, partially due to the vaguely circus-like imagery that I often use. This idea of performance in my work can be seen as a metaphor for the the performance aspect that exists in each of our lives. We each find ourselves in certain situations in which we must “act”. Our lives can be seen as being made up of a series of these situations.​ 

       Certain elements in my work make nostalgic references to earlier periods in history. The dress of the figures I invent often recalls styles of the 19th century. Other elements in my work even have a medieval look. I'm interested in this historical quality as a way of creating distance from the reality we are familiar with, thereby encouraging the viewer to use his or her imagination while contemplating these scenarios. 

       Life is amazingly complex and perpetually filled with unanswerable questions, yet each of us must find a way to make some kind of sense of it all. It is in human nature to simplify the world around us so it can be better understood and articulated, but there is inevitably much that is missed when we do this. It is our condition of limited understanding of reality that prompts us to dream and to use our imaginations. My work addresses this condition. ~ Avery Palmer