Torrey Matheson Stifel

Region: South

The gain and loss of control and the desire to maintain control once it is in possession is the essence of my work. External pressures influenced by our fast-paced, American society and the subsequently induced internal stresses, have been translated into a personal visual form. By filtering this dialogue between these opposing elements through a symbolic and literal system, I find a level of catharsis from the anxiety-laden thoughts that influence my interpretations of control.

The use of pills, medical and illicit alike, is becoming alarmingly commonplace in our society. I imply pills in this body of work, namely psychotropic, with literal narratives and metaphorical visualizations as a means to symbolize a filtration of time, an absorption of anxiety, and a simultaneous acceptance and rejection of this current actuality.

Loose linear paths, humorous and satirical stories, as well as molecular and pill-like shapes evolve from the bright acrylic spills. The distinctive and personal palette, inspired by specific medications, reflects a type of artificial desirability that is reminiscent of American culture. The latex pours and acrylic washes mimic the fast, plastic, synthetic sheen that glistens above society while the graphite in the drawings suggests erasable history and our vulnerability to impermanence.

Each painting personifies an independent response to a culturally common stress associated with the idea of control. The graphite responses are dictated by the spontaneous and unforeseen actions of the minimally poured acrylic. By submitting to the haphazard growing nature of the paint, I can inadvertently assert a level of control by employing a more methodical process with the graphite. From there, the works are accessed with more conscious and formally compositional decisions, emphasizing the visual tensions between the deliberate and chance, the mechanical and biomorphic, and the structured and disordered.