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Featured Artist – Mollie Douthit

Mollie Douthit

My work investigates personal connections to and viewpoints of objects, people, animals, or spaces. In paint I am able to explore, highlight, and isolate the things I notice. Painting is a means of documenting things I want to remember, and the process gives me insight into what is important to me. My attitude towards paint application is that any method is ‘fair game’, but I tend to paint with direct marks as opposed to modelling. In maintaining an open dialogue with application methods, I am able to engage in my process more confidently and clearly, allowing paint to be the subject as well as what I am observing. Sustaining this attitude allows a constant flow of discovery, challenge, and engagement with the material.

Historically I place my work in relation to the 18th century still life painters forward, beginning with Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and his quotidian subjects – his own everyday items. Contemporary influences include Alice Neel, Chantal Joffe, and Lois Dodd. On a material level, these painters commonly employ raw, direct mark making to explore their subject.

Theoretically I am interested in painters talking about their own process of painting and appreciate when critics investigate not only the finished work of the artist but also the artist’s process. A specific example would be Martin Gayford’s account of sitting for a Lucian Freud portrait, ‘Man with a Blue Scarf’. Viewing paintings in person is crucial to my practice; I often travel to seek out specific bodies of work, and recently I spent time in Amsterdam to research the work of Van Gogh.

Reading is an invaluable source of inspiration for me. I relate to literature and poetry that holds direct tone – evidences I strive for in my own work. Writers I align these qualities with are Lydia Davis, Sylvia Plath, and Ali Smith. I also enjoy hearing writers speak about their process; by associating universal terms for creative work, this helps me to understand my own process more clearly.

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