Meet the Artist
In my work, I have been examining family, history, ego, and environment through divine moments finding balanced compositions and the use of found, family, or my own photography. I quickly and carefully render subjects and find that I’m trying to capture their energy as well. To be able to have the viewer experience empathy and break down their own walls is my goal. Whether it is in stark black ink washes or oil on panel and canvas, I explore rare moments in which I could get lost in forever, that have shown me a way to see something differently through exploring have changed my human understanding. By using my own contemporary photography (as well as those of my parents, both photographers in the 1970s at the Nikon School of Photography) I have found that I can keep my connection with my deceased father’s legacy, hobbies and memory. Just as the struggles in their lives affected my own, I am curious of what has gone into creating my subjects’ lives. What happiness, longing, lust, passions, and shortcomings have broughtthem here in this very moment? I do not judge, I just paint it as it is, journalistically only manipulating the composition with the emotion I’m trying to capture. From people peacefully sleeping on the street, waiting at a laundromat or pensively sitting alone, I look for an inward view point with a nod to the expansiveness around them often overlooked or just beyond the subject’s view. If the human experience is crossing paths and learning from one another, and not just accepting, but appreciating every moment for what it is, then I want to try to capture the human experience. Like the photography of Vivian Maier, I really ‘see ‘ my subjects, and by taking my knowledge and ideals of photography building them in layers of oil paint I explore the small shapes, colors, and light we are all made up of. I use painting as a therapy and to put my own walls down, inspire, and connect with others.
Being a mother of two, my work explores family structures and gender roles, constantly questioning history, and how environmental differences can create drastically different outcomes in our lives and dreams. I gravitate to painting the things I see around me, and have worked for the last decade in the American South, Texas and urban Austin landscapes. I utilize everyday spaces to set a stage, where inanimate objects are wrought with symbolism, quiet contemplations of a sole figure leave space for the viewer to relate and imply their own thoughts, narrative or relationship with the subject. Influenced by the works of Edward Hopper in which quiet moments frozen in time unfold in blocks of color, layers of symbolism about family and heritage, to Henry Darger’s outsider work of bright cheery imagery contrasted with dark epic tales of oppression and nightmares collaged with abuses of power and adverts or children saving the world. In my work I have covered struggles in nature and human nature and there is much more to explore there. Attention to detail in lighting and structure within my paintings and drawings help reinforce a realistic, but surreal, dream-like, and vaguely familiar scene transcending time while acknowledging the connection we have beyond time, race, and class. My work attempts to bring awareness back to the present moment while paying tribute to our own histories, ghosts, fears, and discouragements.
Justine Beech is an artist currently living and working in Northwest Arkansas. She received her BFA from the Pratt Institute in NYC and has since formed a career, with a number of public art and commissioned art projects. Her work uses primarily oil paint that explores the everyday scenes and subject matter inspired by American Regionalists with themes of family structures, gender roles and questioning history.