The vision for this work occurred spontaneously during an evening at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Arriving at dusk, I looked out the car window to the right to see families in jeans entering the jail for visitation; looking out the window on the left I saw beautiful women in furs entering the museum for a fund-raising event. I felt intensely isolated and caught on the edge between powerful, conflicting forces. As I sat alone, eating gourmet grits from a martini glass at the reception a small group of men walked by and stared into the window. We made eye contact and I wondered who they were, where they were going, and what judgments they might make about my life? What did I think about my life?
Upstairs I previewed the exhibit of historical paintings. The large 17th century European paintings with their scale and dark muted colors were very calming. As I searched for the identity of the subjects, the images themselves seemed severe. Then entering the room of the impressionists’ work – though uncomfortable with the palette and the lack of detail, I adored the playful sense of spirit. While standing in front of Pierre Bonnard’s “The Luncheon” a photograph of my friends dining at home appeared in my mind’s eye and I knew the muse had arrived.
The photographs in this series, Living Color, represent a search for beauty in a world of contradictions; individual southern stories that resonate our common humanity; and contemporary images that acknowledge the impact of painting.