Lizzie Wortham

Camp (2015)
oil on canvas – 40 x 48 in.

It was small, they were small, and fragile. I wanted to protect them from time, age, the world outside of the garden, but they had already been taken out of the box. Still curious of how it all happened, that establishment of self, the declaration stating “I’m this! Not that” with fear and fierceness, painting them blurs the edges. Looking back, them at me, me at my own, sharing the pain and enthusiasm for a future we now know… forces me to scrape things away, lay on the floor and dilute with spirits, tilting the present in all the directions our lives could have gone. We hang in the balance, taking the photo, holding who we are, hanging it on the wall so that we can step back and see. But it’s still smeared, it won’t come clean, we are not clean and pure anymore, that’s not how it works.

Brushes remind me of long hair, how many times did Marsha say we needed to brush every night? I brushed the girl’s hair, but used a knife for the doll’s. Why do I feel bad that I threw away that doll? It must be my Mom’s fault. I will put her back here, where she can live forever, my mom, the doll. I am fascinated by how we see ourselves, especially when we know we are the subject. We are ravenous consumers of images of ourselves, our peers and our idols. They are a constant evaluative tool for defining our own identities. Can I paint that?