Estelle L Roberge
Estelle L Roberge
My recent paintings emerge from a series of walks through local and distant wilderness or other “outside” sites throughout the seasons. Walking allows me to know natural environments within a certain solitary context. The notion of a working, solitary space is intrinsically connected to making meaning with painted imagery. The subjects are both intimate and remote, experienced through layers of abstracted memories. I imagine and seek to bring inner meaning to the experience of walking through these spaces by an imaginative belonging. From that process, the human form has appeared. My new interest in figuration and its relatedness to wild terrains in turn has brought my attention to those who do not choose to be “Outside,” such as in “Border Crossings: In the Bush Series.” Here, I crushed dried flowers, mixed ash into paint, and collaged raw material onto surfaces, laying in thick amounts of paint. Those who seek refuge are associated with specific objects, the silver blankets and bunk beds, plastic bottles, toys, brushes, combs, and mirrors, objects “within a cage,” their journey ended, surreal but necessary to articulate. Thus, my walking space becomes embedded, embodied, open, juxtaposed between colored footprints, textures and colors and shapes of human suffering.
Estelle L. Roberge was born in Biddeford, Maine, the sixth of nine children, and grew up in a Franco-American Irish-Canadian household, surrounded by industrial factories and triple decker tenement buildings. She graduated from nearby Portland School of Art and the University of Southern Maine in the 1980s and later travelled west in search of employment, finally making a home in Magdalena, New Mexico where she taught art. The wilderness settings inspired her to abstract landscapes. Her frequent walks took her out into the Magdalena and San Mateo Mountains and into Utah. Her works have focused on the interplay of memory, place and presence within wild terrains. Recently, she has returned to an early interest in the human figure. In this body of work, she traverses and wanders between figurative abstractions and regional landscapes as she goes deeper into fields, shapes and layers of color.