Artist Statement

Artist Dorothea Osborn in her studio.
Artist Dorothea Osborn in her studio.

My work revolves around concepts of time, spirituality, and the tension between dichotomies, especially measured time and lived time. To evoke those conceptual tensions, I place abstract painted and drawn elements in formal tension with found objects in works that range from 3 to 6 feet in height. Fragmentation, created by cutting and then hand or machine sewing together rough-edged materials, embodies temporal ruptures. Viewers can become absorbed in the timeless experience of the ethereal colors and expressive forms, but three-dimensional elements impinging on their space will call for them to think about their own body’s unfolding relationship to the object over time. My long-standing interest in temporality has been reshaped in recent years with the urgency of climate change and my reflections on the Anthropocene. Incorporating discarded materials in my work, I consider the life span of our debris in contrast to our own.

In my work the pictorial subject and surface of the painting become energized realms for negotiation, composition, and harmony, where tension and impression of the image is essentially the critical purpose of the piece. Interwoven abstraction and representation, depth and surface, micro and macro, mark making and rendered objects, the works manifest my interest in the process of painting to create a state of tension, capturing an essence of time, through initiation and destruction, just as in the Anthropocene.

Picasso said that no art is truly abstract because the artist always starts from something. The generation of imagery is added to, subtracted, and/or eradicated in a painterly language, both with a conscious and intuitive flow of materials and through a conscious level of semiotics.

Vermont Studio Center