Josie McCoy – Artist Statement

“I paint fictional characters from the world of film, television and music. 

My work is about how we connect with a familiar face and what we bring with us when looking at a painting of someone in terms of our own references and memories.

Film and television can act as a means of communication and connection. I’m interested in how blurred the line between fiction and reality can become.

I focus on painting strong female subjects in response to how women have been represented throughout art history, where they have been the ‘passive’ subject of art. In my paintings, I use the gaze and expression (and the viewer’s prior knowledge of the persona) to present them as active protagonists with agency.

I aim to create a dialogue between the paintings and the viewer. I emphasise the eyes and mouth as these are the points we look at while talking with someone.

The photos I choose to paint are often close-up shots which signify highly emotional and poignant moments in the storytelling.

Using oil paint like watercolour and building my portraits in thin layers of diluted paint, makes the surface of the paintings glow in an imitation of the cinema screen. I use a green skin colour to reference traditional painting techniques where green was used as under-painting to give luminosity to the surface colour. I also use pale blue, to imply the gleam of a television on someone watching”