Katie Claiborne


Ground Level, 30×33 inches, Oil on canvas

For me, painting is an act rooted in empathy. It demands something intimate, something specific. It demands that I call on the memory of my own physicality and psychology in order to find places of connection between the person I am painting and myself.

I work with the same models for an extended time. In making these paintings, I am thinking about intimacy, exposure, and vulnerability. I aim to create dense spaces which– because of subtle color shifts–  emerge slowly as the viewer’s eyes adjust. The slow spaces of the paintings are a visual metaphor for the relationship that slowly develops between myself and my model.

The tension between physical closeness and accessibility becomes crucial in painting these portraits. The point of view I employ places the viewer physically close to the subject. However, the paintings demand an amount of work on the part of the viewer, that defies notions of immediacy.