Force Series Artist Statement
Force, 42 x 104 inches, quadriptych, oil and graphite on panel, 2013, Force series
Restoring, 23 x 35 inches, oil and graphite on panel, 2013, Force series
Perception, 36 x 48 inches, oil and graphite on panel, 2013, Force series
Leverage, 24 x 38 inches, oil and graphite on panel, 2013, Force series
Bond, 28 x 44 inches, oil and graphite on panel, 2013, Force series
Tension, 36 x 48 inches, oil and graphite on panel, 2013, Force series
Breach, 28 x 44 inches, oil and graphite on panel, 2013, Force series
Withdrawal, 28 x 48 inches, oil and graphite on panel, 2013
Direction, 50 x 96 inches, triptych, oil and graphite on panel, 2013
Development, 30 x 60 inches, oil and graphite on panel, 2013
Three, 36 x 48 inches, oil and graphite on panel, 2013
Tightening, 24 x 38 inches, oil and graphite on panel, 2013
Heart, 36 x 48 inches, oil and graphite on panel, 2013
Joint, 36 x 48 inches, oil and graphite on panel, 2013
Encompass, 44 x 84 inches, triptych, oil and graphite on panel, 2013
Rose Umerlik Artist’s Statement 2013
My art practice is inextricably tied to my personal history. Stories of family, relationships, and self-awareness generate forces of emotion⎯fear, hope, loss, pain, and love⎯that drive me through the creation of each painting.
From the beginning of each piece, I lay down shapes, lines and bodies of color. As I manipulate these elements, I intuitively recognize how the correlation of these elements mirrors my interpersonal relationships. At different times these lines and forms vary in the way they relate to one another. Sometimes they hold each other, or gesture lovingly; other times they oppose each other or interact aggressively; sometimes their relationship is uncomfortable or uncertain; other times they strive for isolation.
As I move through moments of personal recognition, these moments influence the formulation of the composition. I engage in an extended series of decisions and revisions; tensions undulate on the painted surface, layers of lines, pigments, and shapes are laid down, cleared, and then selectively restored. When a painting is realized conclusively, the surface is necessarily multifarious, the reworked layers reflect my ongoing struggle to accept my history, my present, and to be hopeful of the future.
This complexity of formal elements and process is present throughout my work. My aim is not only to mirror the intricacies of my personal story, but also to connect with the viewer, to echo the personal, emotional struggles that resonate with each of us, and that are present in the collective human mind and heart.
FORCE: A Series of Paintings by Rose Umerlik from January-May 2013
During the period of time I created this body of work a debilitating injury imposed itself upon me, controlling my life in a way that I had never experienced before. I began to see myself differently: a person pinned beneath forces I could not control—stuck, passive, and helpless.
In the rare periods that I could work in my studio I found myself filled with desperation and a fury of emotion and energy, trying to understand this new reality and trying to take back control of my life. Through these paintings I began to reclaim the power I lost from my injury by creating collisions and power plays of form. In choosing deep and strong colors and employing the repeating motif of the long linear form that cuts through spaces and divides them, I am navigating back to my old self, the empowered self that existed pre-injury.
The physical act of creating these pieces was filled with as much tension as the pieces themselves contain. This tension – and the conflict I poured into the work – ultimately resolves in a sense of balance that invites the viewer into the paintings to play out their own personal conflicts.
© Copyright Rose Umerlik 2019.