Artist Statement 2011

by JoAnne McFarland in Artist Statements

I am in love with the physical manifestation of things—their
color, smell, texture, size—the entire visceral world. I am in love, too, with
being alive, with the intersection of my aliveness with the immense beauty I
encounter day to day. My work as a writer and artist is to capture this beauty,
and share my perceptions with others in hopes that this exchange ennobles us


More than anything, I’ve come to see the universe as a place
constantly in motion so that there is no fixed truth, no absolute, immutable
reality. My worldview is infinitely flexible, dedicated to probing what is
before me precisely because it is so fleeting. We are all in a perpetual state
of growth and decay, diminution and renewal.


My focus is on creating. I use my daily morning walk to
center myself and get the most lift from my day. I’m drawn to change and difference
which I believe broaden rather than constrict us.


I see race as a construct. When I deal with race in my work
it is to push my way out of its box into the atmosphere. I find color
differences between people endlessly fascinating, but my attraction is
aesthetic and catholic, rather than keyed to race as a disjunctive force.


Blackness, psychologically, is the Void, the unknown, the
unknowable. The malignant state of race in the United States has as much to do
with fear of forces that cannot be controlled—change, creativity, rage, sorrow,
joy—as with skin color.


My work also focuses on the misogyny I see throughout
American culture. This hatred of the feminine is so deep and so broad that
examples of misogynistic behavior—writings, fashion, food attitudes, workplace
structures, and sexual ‘norms’ masquerade as cultural inevitabilities.


The central question that fuels every single thing I make is
why is a woman’s passion so threatening?