Artist Statement

I don’t know how or where to begin, and I am not sure I want to. I agree with Matisse who said. “He who wants to dedicate himself to painting should start by cutting out his tongue.” I do not believe that what I think and what I feel in my painting can be translated fully from paint to words. So I’ll think of this as a painting and just leap in. I like painters who like paint. I love to paint.

My painting is working within tensions of paradox, ambiguity, duality and contradiction. It is not on one side or the other, it is those polarities united. This is the totality and the fullness. The meaning cannot be expressed in words alone: it is a feeling, a sense, an experience, a joy, an idea.

Process is important – the act of painting itself. Thinking but not thinking, loose and free but controlled. Actively moving. Dance was very important to me when I was growing up. And now the relationship of music and dance is present in the gesture of painting. Creating a dialogue between the paintings, sometimes chaotic, sometimes flowing. It is not static. It cannot be easily read.

Most importantly the painting must be alive.

  • rational/irrational
  • line/form
  • I try to reach forms that seem solid then confuse,
    they become ambiguous
  • emotion/thought
  • the sensuality of paint - color, feel, touch, surface
  • colors that are ambiguous, deep atmospheric space
  • ambiguity of form and space; foreground becoming background; positive and negative space; deep or close. Is the form the form or the space?
  • scale – personal/intimate/monumental

The cactus is one of the roughest and rawest plants and it grows the most beautifully gentle, delicate flower. “Latwahn” is an Indian word that means both love and pain. The meanings cannot be separated.

Click on the Statements to view them:

Purcell Art Summary May 1, 2009
Caravans Nov 2017
Playground Series 1982
Kali Poem Books 1994
Diptychs Triptychs 2002
Sakura notes 10-17-2009
Reflections on Tao and La Sylphide 2017
Ann Purcell one-page art statement
Jane Livingston Interview of Purcell, Corcoran Gallery of Art Solo Catalogue, 1976