I was afraid that having gallery representation would adversely affect my painting because I have been painting on my own and against the dominant grain for so long. Because my works are painted with such boldness, I forget that I am actually a postmodernist and generally feel that I am without peers. But last year, the first year of representation was very productive, both on canvas and on paper. I began a new series of oils prior to meeting Robert Steele and several months after our studio visit began a new series of acrylics on paper. I’ve been showing in New York City since I was thirty-five but have never been given a contract by a gallery. I never thought I was an artist of priority though I thought my work was respected. I showed with Eric Stark at his first gallery in Soho and afterwards with Susan Schreiber and then with Anita Shapolsky. I always felt that my work was respected more than I was and that my dealers wondered how such an insignificant and unsophisticated person could produce art of a strong and visceral nature. I don’t look tough, I don’t look like a New Yorker and my Anglo features make me appear tame. As a young female art student I was told that my prettiness would be a liability to my career. But I pierced my ears anyway and began to wear earrings after moving to New York City. I didn’t think that the male art professors at Alfred were the final word about my life. But from today’s perspective as a third generation Scottish American and a 13th generation Anglo American, I wonder whether the professors at Alfred were talking in code about my being a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant? At least I am Scottish the critic Vivien Raynor told me.
When I stop working on a painting, mulling it over, unsure as to whether it is finished, it nags at me if it is unresolved as if I had a bad conscience. My Scottish Presbyterian grounding does not let me keep a weak painting around for more than several months. I look and look, slowly understanding my response of dislike or discomfort. If I change my mind about a work after I have had it photographed, I don’t let that affect my decision to change the piece. The wasted outlay of money bothers me a little but I rationalize it by saying that being a painter these days is financially a losing proposition anyway.