Through my paintings, I seek to tell stories that explore questions about – and express my thoughts on – identity, agency, relationships, moments of transformation, and what it means to be an ambiguous person living in a patriarchal society. Patriarchy demands binary thinking – male, female, gay, straight, white, not-white, and so forth. The world itself, our dreams, and our wishes are much more nuanced than this.


Stories have always been an important part of my life; stories from my childhood continue to resonate with me even now. Unpacking the narratives of my own childhood is a complex activity; I was told stories from my father's Native American heritage as well as the common fairy tales from my mother's European heritage. These both influence my work in sometimes intersecting and sometimes conflicting ways which is reflected in the ambiguity of my subject matter.


The main narratives that are present in my work are concerned with the mother-child bond, movement between spaces, transition and transformation, ambiguity, and identity. Universal themes that cross cultures and contain archetypal imagery. My aim, in using archetypes, is to create narratives that are rooted in the space between, that embrace ambiguity, and celebrate it.


My practice is primarily concerned with oil painting. I favor a limited color palette and use both chiaroscuro and tenebrism in my compositions to focus the eye of the viewer and create drama. I made the decision to appropriate this art form in order to use it, as a recognizable 'language', to tell stories that have otherwise been historically and modernly ignored in this media.


I want to make work that explores the no man's land that exists between the real and unreal, the secular and the spiritual, and the hypothetical area which exists beyond what has been and extends to what might be. Above all, I am compelled to shout into the void the reality of my own ambiguous being and I do this by making work that reflects that ambiguity.

© 2020  Tammie L. Dupuis