Margie Livingston | Statement

Artist's statement about Left Turn

Left Turn is a new series of paintings reflecting on anxiety, mortality, and hope, all filtered through a humorous lens. The impetus for these new works started with my long-standing tradition of making and sending cards — birthday cards, Valentines, holiday greetings, invitations, and thank yous — to family and friends. Whether a simple drawing or an elaborate construction project, the cards are a place where I experiment with new media and images.

Even though the works build on this long history of personal image-making, it felt perilous, since I've never shown work with narrative images. Although I've reinvented my work several times, this felt like the riskiest choice yet — which made it worth doing. In fact, the excitement (anxiety) of taking this left turn became one of the underlying themes.

The bulletin board in my studio is covered with a collection of 3x5 cards bearing ideas to consider for this project. The range of topics includes loss, entropy, angst, humor, flat tires, and burnt toast. At the top is a card that asks: what's the scariest thing I can do?

As the pandemic wears on and the political climate continues to alienate people from each other, it seems more and more urgent to make personal and vulnerable images with a sense of humor — in hopes of inspiring a smile, a chuckle, or a sense of recognition.

February 2022
—Margie Livingston