Sarah M. Brokke

oil and graphite on canvas
30 x 40 in.

“I always felt much more truthful and courageous
on canvas.” – Alice Neel 1983

My work is about the interplay of reaction and truth. These reactions are emotional responses to a spectrum of events and relationships in my personal and public life. As my work has progressed, the “truth” I originally sought to uncover has, through the action of painting, revealed itself. Consequently, I felt compelled to investigate the female body image and traditional gender roles because both subjects invade and surround not only my own existence, but affect almost all women that I interact with daily. My own body image, my gender state, and its complexities live in my work. Therefore, in dealing with these issues, I feel that it is necessary to not only examine seriously, but also to find the absurdity and occasional humor in this otherwise somber subject matter. Addressing these issues continually reopens wounds. Each time I am faced with one of my paintings, my initial response is one of magnetic revulsion. It is this very reaction that compels me to continue.

My learned perception of beauty forces me to mentally distort my own image, and thus, the images splay on canvas. Because my reactions are based primarily on the physicality of these images, the way that I paint directly corresponds to the subject matter. My process of painting is as important as the resulting work. When I am painting, I am able to suspend my life while continually responding to it with a heightened sense of awareness. My paintings are recordings of my internal past and because of this my work becomes a visual timeline. My intention is to deliver images that an audience can interact with and to leave them with questions only they themselves can answer.

© Sarah M. Brokke