Elaine Woo MacGregor: Portraits

Artists statement, April 2006

My latest paintings are a series of portraits, focused on capturing particular psychological moments of the person, where at times the feelings expressed are understated, removed and intimate. I use people directly from my personal life, affording me the opportunity to observe, interpret and mediate their natural expressions, body language and characteristics. I am drawn to looking at physical spaces and visual cues within a painting whereby the total mental and physical experience of the viewer is affected.

I have always been attracted to the thought-provoking qualities of narrative in my work and drawing references from a range of sources; from the history of painting, ideas of mise-en-scene to my own memories and experiences. It is interesting to use props and spaces of everyday life to create fictitious imagery based on both reality and memory. Foreground objects like a pint glass in a deep red space becomes something of importance, to explain and describe the character and his state of mind. The use of colour, light, shade and composition is also of significance because they help to amplify certain expressions of the body and face, creating a certain physiological ambiguity.