By Cate McQuaid, Boston Globe. August 17th, 2019 online. (August 19th Sunday Arts print edition, with picture below).
JILL POYOUROW: RED BIKINI AND OTHER WORKS
Poyourow’s paintings are derived from photographs, such as old family snapshots and prints from old encyclopedias. Devoting time to re-creating images captured in an instant, she dives deep into moments and reflects on tensions between personal and universal. Through Sept. 15. Grant Wahlquist Gallery, 30 City Center, Portland, Maine. 207-245-5732, www.grantwahlquist.com
Some thoughts, especially about the title:
This piece, especially the title, harkens back to the dream I had as a child and for which a larger work exists from my Natural Progression of Things series of oil on linen works.
As I was painting this, mostly during July, 2018, the Elton John/Bernie Taupin lyrics kept coming into my head (and by the way, the very first trailer for the huge Elton John blockbuster film Rocket Man did not hit screens until the first week of October, 2018). Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player was one of the first albums I ever purchased and it was cherished (I still have it actually). The summer of 1973, when the snapshot was taken that I worked from, Crocodile Rock was on the radio, and that car radio was a large part of how I experienced the Maine landscape. Music was always a large part of my family’s life, and the time spent in our station wagon driving through the landscape with the radio on was a moving concert venue complete with epic visuals. But the really important part of the title for me is that it references the dream that I had as a child (discussed in relation to my Water to Land painting here).
I really DO (or did) literally remember when rock was young.
As I worked on this painting, it was the face of my younger brother that taught me the most about capturing likeness, something that has always been at the forefront of my ambitions in and appreciation(s) of/for portraiture. Initially, and very quickly, I got a likeness, then, frustrated and impatient, I wiped it out feeling that it somehow lacked an essential quality of him as a young boy. After painting and wiping out numerous likenesses, I eventually settled upon a ghost-like version of pigment stain upon the beautiful linen surface, as it seemed to make the most sense to me in the end. We are never the same person, our versions of ourselves and others version of who we are constantly evolve year after year for our entire lives, and even after our lifetime. We are born into a pristine shell, our infant body, and then the environment, the earth, and life do their magic upon us, the way the waters of the earth do their physical work upon the planet – upon the rocks on the shoreline.
My relationship with the rocky coast of Maine began during the summers spent here as a young teenager. I came of age on these rocky shores.