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see the "Family Values" drawings

Over the past few years I have become increasingly interested in depicting both the nuances and blatancies of the wide array of relationships that we all have in the world. Friendships lovers, family groupings, schoolyard politics- the intimacy, the loneliness, the humor, the oddity of various combinations of people, large and small.

FAMILY VALUES is a series of works about families, and seeks to explore the nature of what “family” can mean. Couples, triads, nuclear families, pairings of various sizes and shapes. They are often gender neutral, as my interest lies in the psychological complexities of these relationships, and gender is just a part of this. They are portraits of the “relationship” as opposed to a portrait of the individuals involved. The endings are purposely open ended; most relationships are far too complicated to know the ending in advance.

Each work is meant to capture the private but universal energy of family. The mother and child, the married couple, the oblivious partners. The works are meant to be at once quirky and referential of classical art. They are both funny and from time to time disturbing, like most families I know.

Melissa Stern 2007