In atmospheric works that incorporate text, Lori Anne Boocks builds layers of memories into abstract paintings using acrylic paint and charcoal. The local artist, who is a resident of Germantown, is a keeper of stories. Boocks allows stories told by family, friends, and acquaintances to influence her palette and mark making.
“Some I know are true. Others, I’m not so sure,” she said. “But I use the words, rehash and rework them and strip them down to the bone, then build the sentences up again, layers upon layers representing the feeling of a story I know.”
Books embeds hidden story fragments, adding both legible and illegible words, as she develops her mixed media paintings in an effort to represent the feeling of the stories she remembers.
“A lot of the women in my family have had Alzheimer’s or dementia disorders,” she explained. “My goal is to create the feeling of a memory that has made up a part of who I am. Should I also end up with such a disorder, my hope is to look at my work and have a connection with my past.”
Boocks’ physical process is messy, as she often paints with her hands, not with brushes, to produce paintings that echo the way in which memories develop. “The act of remembering and sharing stories is a powerful thing to me,” she said. “Just as the passage of time creates layers of experiencing — the remembering of an event, the misremembering of it, the distancing, the forgetting — my coats of color washes and texture become a lens through which I share my cache of stories.”
Boocks transforms each piece, then creates a patina by partially removing the pigment in areas using her hands or cloth. “Washes of pigment applied at the end of the process aim to give each piece a history of its own,” said the artist. “As if I’ve excavated something long buried and rediscovered.”
In the same way we might dig up personal memories, her work invites viewers to spend time reflecting upon their own stories. “Sometimes people are not sure how to process abstract art,” Boocks said. “I hope they open up to what they see and let color or curiosity lead them on a deeper journey.”
Boocks earned a BFA from Old Dominion University in 1992. Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at Johns Hopkins University, Rockville; Delaplaine Visual Arts Center, Frederick, MD; Hoyt Center for the Arts, New Castle, PA; Sitar Arts Center, Washington, DC; and Studio Gallery, Washington, DC. Her work has been included in curated and juried group exhibitions at Artists & Makers Studios, Rockville, MD; Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Washington, DC; The Athenaeum, Alexandria, Virginia; Adah Rose Gallery, Kensington.
Boocks’ work is included in private collections in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Paris, and the Metro DC area, and in corporate collections in Washington, DC and Australia.
The award-winning artist lives in Germantown and was selected as a Semi-Finalist in the Bethesda Paintings Awards (2012) and maintained a Resident Artist studio at Artists and Makers Studios in Rockville. To learn more about the artist, visit: www.lorianneboocks.com
BlackRock Center for the Arts is will present “Lori Anne Boocks: The Shape of Memories” from Saturday, July 22 through Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 in the Terrace Gallery. The center will host a Meet the Artists Reception on Saturday, July 22 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm where the artist will deliver brief remarks at 3:00 pm and be on hand to answer questions throughout the event.
Boocks will return to BlackRock on Saturday, August 26 at 12:00 pm to deliver an Artist Talk with the discussion focused on her creative process and the techniques used to create the works on display. Both events are free and open to the public.
BlackRock Center for the Arts is centrally located in the heart of Germantown, next to the Germantown Public Library, at 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown, MD 20874. Free parking is available in the lot at the rear of our building and along the street.
Top: Lori Anne Boocks - Migration-Coming Home, mixed media on canvas, 70 x 60 inches
Next: Lori Anne Boocks, “Levee,” acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 50 x 40 inches.
Next: Lori Anne Boocks - Emerge, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 50 x 40 inches
Next: Lori Anne Boocks - Hierarchy of Desire, mixed media on canvas, 50 x 40 inches
Photos courtesy BlackRock Center for Arts.