Artist Statement: Maria Prainito-Winczner

My conceptual thought on my painting are based on the ideology of body as an active politicalized component in our culture. Many of the personal issues of the feminist in the 1960 were the politicking related directly to women’s bodies, from reproductive rights to sexual harassment, beauty norms, and women’s sexuality. These issues continue to this day. I question, how does our perspective on the body influence how we understand power and freedom? In my work I distort the body, exaggerate pubic hair, twist and pull the figures extremities, showing the manipulation of the body.

Most of my painting main protagonist is influenced by a contemporary Peggy Olsen from mad man.  Her character is dealing with many of the issue that happen to today’s women.  Her sexuality, power or lack thereof, confidence, marital status and body image are a continuous concern to her but Peggy is a social rule breaker. She has unprotected sex, smokes and drinks heavily.

In my series I am interested in presenting societal rule breakers, creative types and activists real or fictional.  These historical or contemporary figure play a particular role in defining our culture.  Batman is another of my choices of rule breaker he was created in the 1939 during war II when people were desperate for hope in troubled times.  I believe people still feel desperate. Batman has been a common reoccurring overly popular character in our culture for over 80 years.  His persona is a statement to western cultures fascination with masculinity and power.

In my paintings I evoke signs from different image systems (art history, fashion, design and popular culture) to question certain ideologies or past philosophies.  In one painting titled Eminem, I am appropriating imagery from Theo van Doesburg’s last painting before his death. In appropriating the last art piece from different artists, my work reference death and our own mortality.  In his work, Doeburg believed creating artwork void of object or subject focusing on harmony and balance would create a world of harmony.  This ideology failed. This appropriation mocks someone’s egotism giving my work a certain sense of humor and or levity.

In this series, the works are painted by my alter ego Bob Johnson. Bob Johnson emerged because of my own internal struggle with female identity.   I have the disposition to conform, want to be likable, make work beautiful and smile. Johnson wants to push the boundaries, be provocative and answers to no one.  Johnson allows me to be spontaneous and express myself without concern of the narrative of others. He permits me to break my history of restraints of societal expectation of being a women. This signature also puts into question how we see artwork created by a certain gender. Is there a stereotype or prejudice?  And finally the name was taken because of bobbing (Bob) referring to an action and Johnson which has been a reference term to a penis.   Another point of humor in the work.