acrylic paint on paper
34 x 28 in.
I grew up in an environment where appearances of prosperity, success, and projecting a picture of perfection, gave my parents a sense of achievement and acted as a band-aid to cover their fears of mediocrity. I contemplate these memories with a new perspective to find they hold a sentiment opposing their original emotion. I have taken the virtues my mother held important—the appearances of domestic order and wealth—and reimagined them in various artistic ways with a variety of materials.
Objects of shallow materialism were distractions keeping my parents from things that mattered more. The surroundings of my childhood were gilded in faux-gold and embellished with ornate baroque flourishes. The lamps, couches, the gold-rimmed china plates, crystal vases, marble tables, and faux flower baskets, were all masks to hide my mother’s disappointment in her station in life. And her children, who she saw as flawed, not the “perfect” children of her friends and neighbors, were the manifestations of her average life.
I try to see myself not through the filter of my mother, but by trying to understand who I am despite how I was raised. There’s beauty in the ordinary.
© Jenny Halpern