The following is my artist statement for my newest body of work and solo exhibit at The San Diego Art Institute. The show runs July 23 through August 22, 2010. The opening reception is Friday July 30, 6-8pm and all are invited.

To see the entire collection please visit my website and click on Long Story Short in the portfolios. Enjoy!  


Long Story Short by Brenda York

My newest body of work was inspired by the book, “Six-Word Memoirs By Writers Famous And Obscure”. The book is a collection of hundreds of memoirs each reduced to a mere six words by their authors. Having long been a painter of narrative art, I decided to apply the same challenges of the abbreviated life story to a collection of autobiographical paintings. Each piece represents a chapter in my life reduced to one image that tells the “long story short”.

The paintings were first conceptualized in my sketchbooks through many drawings based on various game-changing life events. I then attempted to string together six carefully chosen words to capture the occasion (easier said than done!). The process of writing helped crystallize the images and, similarly, the sketches often sparked the beginnings of each six-word story. This synergistic method of working proved to be a challenge. And a whole lotta fun.

In the end stages of each painting, I used a scratching technique to draw symbols and words into the paint. The symbolism, both personal and universal, allows a deeper exploration of each story and adds another layer of visual interest.

Each painting was given both a title and a six-word story. Finally, in a more literal interpretation of this project, I chose to work in a format that reinforces “long story short”: my canvases are both long and short.