Mira Gerard

I make paintings of the figure as a way to understand desire, which functions in my work in part as a fantasy about being both subject and maker.  For several years when I was growing up, my family lived in a small intentional community in rural New Hampshire with no TVs and with limited access to experiences of mainstream American culture in the 70's.   I became obsessed with fairies and fairy tales, along with the meadows, stone walls and woods around me.  In addition to that, throughout my childhood, I modeled for my father, who is also a painter.  He would take thousands of pictures of me, playing in fields of flowers, usually in sun-drenched afternoon landscapes.  

Ten years ago I quite literally stumbled into Lacanian psychoanalysis, which is a practice of speaking freely.  Unpacking and deciphering fragmented memories, freudian slips, encrypted riddles in dreams, and other recurring signifiers can be a messy and rewarding business.  It's surprisingly similar to the process of collage, which I utilize to make studies for my paintings, sourcing my own photographs and videos, online images, art historical references, and screenshots from films.  

The division between that period of my childhood and the time after has given me an enhanced, almost hallucinatory understanding of the nature of layered meaning, paradox, and duality, and it is always present in my work.  The paintings are an embodiment of self-conscious and cinematic seduction, which provides a formula from which much interpretation can be automatically derived.  

The act of painting is, for me, an emotional process that feels both perfomative and conversational.  The messiness and smells of oil paints and mediums, and the traditions of the western canon of figurative painting - especially regarding paintings of women- are also major players that loom large. I have embraced traditional, old-master forms of construction, which I intentionally violate as the paintings take shape, ironically taking a page from the abstract expressionists, who my father always encouraged me to look to.  Eventually, the surfaces can be much like a landscape or a body over time- a map of layered scars of accumulated paint.