The intention of my work is to form connections which bring together distinct selves through mundane moments, lived experiences and psychological realms. In a larger societal and historical context, I am interested in investigating complexities within the autonomy of the black female body through an autobiographical sense. I reference real photographs of myself in both real and invented spaces, to explore/create a personal catharsis that exists within both a historical and personal past, yet nuanced present. In the work I explore what it feels like to embody a black body, and the emotional and psychological complexities that come along with that. This allows me to confront a personal narrative that exists outside of the typical, conservative, and aspirational lexicon of black imagery that is typically accepted today. Through the medium of paint, I explore various colors, invented forms and patterns, and sinuous matter to create a personal symbology and selective convoluted narrative. The nude, partially slit brown figures incompletely expose the most humanistic aspects of the body, while placing emphasis on the monstrous qualities of one’s psyche. In the viewer’s face, I reclaim self-consciousness to reveal the emotional journey of being inside the body, and simultaneously reconciling with reflection, isolation, and difference. Through transformation and control, the works celebrate the sticky bits of finding one’s own voice, and existing across the virtual, real, casual, and academic spaces.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Artist, painter, teacher, visualization expressionist Payton, affectionately called “Paydeaux.” Her work desires to bridge those transitional experiences, both personal and communal making space to represent the complexities of race, self, control, culture, femininity, and intersectionality which surround them. She creates bold figurative work that visually plays with tensions between and within black bodies. Her subjects are often disjointed as well as tethered, multi-limbed, and/or masked. They are conflicted, restricted as well as supported by connections, bound by dominant power structures, and other bodies which are equally grounded within the frame. Paydeaux’s characters are also incredibly lively: they seem to swing about, violently sprouting growths and putting off shoots of color and light. Works rendered in vibrant color and ornamented in geometric patterns, they are unabashed in their individuality. These “hybrid feminine figures,” at once restrained and wild, evoke a playfulness around the often dis-orienting labor of placing, identifying, and representing blackness across seemingly disparate spaces and performed personas.
© Payton Harris-Woodard