Sharon Lacey

My paintings are fundamentally image-driven. My interests include the human figure, the painting process, and artistic precedent. I use oil paint and other traditional materials and techniques to express solidarity with past artists, as well as ideas about cultural continuity and shared human experiences throughout history—mostly the grim and embarrassing reality of embodied existence.

My imagery is invented, yet informed by art historical works. Rather than work from external sources—such as preliminary sketches or preconceived ideas—I allow the mental and physical process of painting to drive the work. I start a series with a particular formal concern, and the imagery develops in real time, as I paint, as I think and remember, and as the material asserts itself. Built in many layers of paint, the completed work becomes a tangible record of the process—the outcome of the actions and decisions that led to its creation.

My recent paintings depict dense figure groups in familiar yet ambiguous situations. This use of multi-figured compositions developed from my study of manuscript paintings and relationships between text and image in medieval books.