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These gouache paintings of dishdrainers are part of a series I’m calling Kitchen Clutter. I started these paintings thinking of them as close-ups of larger paintings of interior spaces, but they have taken on their own direction. Although I have been working on this series for about three years, I still find compelling reasons in each painting to continue the exploration. I’m not sure what attracts me to this subject. There is certainly an element of celebration of daily life, along with the recognition that these domestic rituals represent a daily struggle to keep a household from falling into utter chaos.
Perhaps the repetitive, meditative quality of some household tasks is not a far stretch from the actual activity of painting the scene. There is enjoyment in bringing order, even harmony, to a random arrangement of objects, shapes and colors. The drama and tension between flat shapes, lines of perspective, light and shadow and color are all played out on the picture plane. As the artist Kerry James Marshall said in a recent interview “The picture plane is the site of every action. How things occupy that space matters more than anything.”
On another level, the objects depicted — teakettles, dishes, pots and pans, cups and glasses — can be seen as stand-ins for the deep human connections made in conversation in the kitchen.