Growing up in a small town in Connecticut, I was always drawn to art. I didn’t have parents who could teach me art history or how to navigate the art world, but being the only artist in the family made me determined to succeed. I practiced every chance I could, going to art classes after school, and eventually college and grad school. Over the years, my style has changed as I trained my hand to catch up with the image in my mind, but an interest in portraits has always remained constant.
Through non-traditional portraiture, I draw a line between physical appearance and identity. I use objects related to a person to develop their distinct iconography. These objects act to enhance the narrative of the figure we cannot see and welcome a range of interpretations. My art focuses on the gesture of the hand, on the vulnerable spot behind the ear and the less observed features that stand in for the whole.
In most of my work I explore the idea of hiding, something I feel many of us do, and I enjoy navigating this territory. A face hidden behind a wreath tells the story of a strong woman whose choice in jewelry mimics the bright red berries that persist through the depleted winter. A flower of faith and purity dropped to the floor speaks to the hand that has just released it. By concealing the face, one must find meaning in the symbolism of what we are permitted to see. ~ Heather V Mcleod