Sydney Herndon was born in Russellville, Kentucky. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2018 where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting. Sydney’s work has been included in several shows such as the Juxtaposition Group Show at Art Juxtapose in Rosendale, NY and Still Life by Our Women Before Us in New York City. Sydney focuses primarily on painting using both traditional oil paint and digital painting techniques.
Using symbols and bright colors in contrast with traditional portraiture, my work explores the various mental states of women in today’s society. The portraits rely on the imposition of specific symbols and the unease of heightened color to convey what the subject is actually feeling. Because my art practice is a direct response to my own internalized feelings, I explore the pressures that women face in their day-to-day lives to hide their negative emotions behind some kind of an exterior. In my painting, Get Clean, flies buzz around a young woman brushing her teeth. These flies represent the anxiety, depression and worry that can cloud our normal everyday routines and make the smallest tasks more than we can handle. The bright colors are used in contrast to the symbols as a way of “hiding” the negative emotions. I present symbols such as moths, flies, rats, etc. over the figure to allude to the depression, anxiety, and mental health issues that run through our minds on a daily basis. Some of the figures in my paintings have healed from these issues or are in a state of healing. In my painting, Perfect Spaces, flowers represent a perfect internalized world: a place the mind can go, free of these negative thoughts.
What does “Gaze” mean to you & how do you connect it to your work?
Some of the figures in my paintings are “gazing” beyond the viewer while others hide their gaze. No matter what, we are always being perceived by others. My paintings aim to reveal to the viewer what we try and hide from others in fear of being shamed or judged.
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