My work compares physical encounters in nature to the landscape of body by mapping my diagnosis and recovery from anorexia nervosa. These physical encounters are translated through photography, journaling, and matter painting. Layering a wide variety of synthetic materials and natural elements, I investigate through excavation, things that are seen or hidden in the painting and in the life of an anorexic. This duality is demonstrated in my process. Natural elements are transferred on-site to canvas through rubbing and pressing and scattering. These natural canvases are modified in the studio with a variety of painting materials. The final product is a textually rich surface covered in contrasting dull and brilliant marks. What lies behind these works, when hung, are marks of hidden pain felt when trying to capture sublime moments on canvas.
Initially, strenuous runs on beaches, mountains, and city streets informed my paintings. Recently, my artwork paused due to the grave nature of anorexia. Art created in the confines and limitations of a treatment hospital are impressions of imprisonment by shame and guilt and obsession. Crushing rocks and dried flowers reflected the hope that small yellow blossoms and shining mica rocks brought from the small area of nature at the hospital. New themes of stillness and listening have emerged through a new life path. Anger, now directed at anorexia is shown through dramatic demolition techniques, primarily explosives. Healing is shown through the labor of stitching and painting anew.
This collection resonates with the textural and natural elements of Anselm Keifer along with the violence of Niki de Saint Phalle’s earlyTier paintings. Currently an MFA student at Lesley University, Widman is working toward her masters in painting. She plans to graduate in June of 2019.