An ongoing series of pencil drawings depicting members in my family.
“Adrift” (pencil, 10.5 x 9 in)
“Dinner” (pencil, 11.5 x 11.5 in)
“Mom (Child Portrait) II” (pencil, 5 x 7.5 in)
“Edna Ellen Hanninen” (pencil, 8 x 10 in)
“Mom (Child Portrait) I” (pencil, 7 x 9.5 in)
“Girl/Bird” (pencil, 5.25 x 10 in)
“Crying” (pencil, 8.5 x 12 in)
“Meryl” (pencil, 7 x 10.25 in)
“Tricycling” (pencil, 10 x 12 in)
When viewing family photographs from previous generations, I am struck by how much they both reveal and hide about the family they are depicting. They document family members exactly as they were in a moment and, yet, only hint at what the dynamics between them were like. When I view photographs of my family, I find I not only view them objectively, but subjectively. I search for meaning in my family members’ body language and the environments they inhabit, trying to see into the hidden part of their lives.
My family photographs are small, most 3 by 3 inch squares, and damaged, having been bent and ripped. Their physical state seems to mimic what they depict: a family whose history has been racked by illness, substance addiction, and neglect. Confounded by this troubling history, I seek to reconcile with it by creating realistic pencil drawings of my family members. The drawings, which I create through a combination of referencing my family photographs and using my imagination, act as updated family photographs, each reconfigured to better convey what I believe the hidden part of my family members’ lives was like.