They smoke, stroll by the sea. They wear bikinis and turtlenecks. They sit waiting in restaurants or stand against walls in reflective postures. The women of New York-based painter Cindy Press look a little rebellious, sometimes a bit melancholic. But whether they are displayed in shades of black and white or depicted with blood-red lips and glassy green eyes, they all remain smart, free and self-assured.
Cindy is back to her creative projects after taking some time off to raise her two daughters. She was born and brought up in Philadelphia, where she obtained a BFA in Fashion Illustration from Moore College of Art and Design. As a fashion designer, she worked with artists like Peter Max – best known in the 60s for his bright-coloured works. She would interpret his paintings into wearable art.
Regarding her female portraits and figures, Cindy says: “My original goal was to create paintings that were simply striking and beautiful, getting back to my roots of fashion illustration. As I started my process of reinvention, I found myself drawn to images of women that were edgy and sexy.”
She began collecting clippings from magazines, editorials and stock photos – and out of them, creating art that was “semi-realistic” in style.
“When I begin to work I notice a peculiar shift in my thought process,” Cindy continues. “I am no longer concerned about the beauty of the image but instead how it speaks to me, what does the expression or pose represent to me? My focus changes entirely as I consider a history of experiences while I paint. I think about my life, my family, and friends. The relationships, the love, the hurt, the anguish and my own personal conflicts come into play. There is so much more behind a person’s appearance. Through the cult of beauty in contemporary mass media, I am investigating the psychological complexity of women.”
Cindy is currently represented by The Shayne Gallery in Montréal and Houshang’s Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work has been included in group exhibitions nationally and is in private collections around the globe. It is also part of the permanent décor of the new Thompson boutique hotel in Seattle, Washington. Cindy is influenced by contemporary fashion photographers such as Ellen Von Unwerth, Mario Sorenti and Joseph Paradiso.
Images used with permission.