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About Betsy Bohrer

Artist Photo of Betsy Bohrer

I am a life artist.

My art begins early in my life. Memphis in the 60's was a city enwrapped in passion, transformation, growth and movements. Influences came from all directions. Civil rights, women's rights, hippies, streakers, geeks, gospel and rock 'n roll, street riots, school desegregation, afternoon cold war drill sirens, curfews, friends, and TV. These things were the norm. The voice was powerful, the body expressive, and the mind persuasive.

I preserve my life experiences as free-verse poetry, captured moments, observations, and the occasional whimsical doodle in my journals. These meditations transform and evolve through layers of color, texture, and insomnia into tangible visual images. I convey these images through oil and pastel on hand textured paper, board, and canvas, ultimately illustrating and defining my life story.

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Arist Statement

By painting nude figures, presented abstractly, I hope to present people as people, without interpretations of gender or race. Often, my figures are so abstract as to be only a single line, causing them to become transparent or disappear almost completely into the natural, cosmic, or spiritual motifs of the background. I do this to suggest that human beings are more than what they bodily are, and that we possess a rich inner life that ties us to nature and to each other.

It could be said that my painting combines the iconography of 16th century stained glass with the modernist and surrealist qualities of 20th century painting.

My figures are often presented in deep thought or peacefully reclined, or in a state of awe or wonder. Occasionally, though, I present figures in distress or even immense physical pain. I don't intend to shock the viewer, but to present a kind of modern triptych for our humanity and the experiences we share.

I've also explored uniquely feminine topics in my work, such as birth, motherhood, and the womb. I hope to give voice to a rich and essential topic that affects all of us, and also to explore the very real mystery at the foundation of human life. I also choose these topics because they are personal to me.

Sometimes, my work may be sexually suggestive. My intent is not to eroticise my subjects, but to raise the consciousness of the viewer and present intimacy as a real and human quality.

I strive to create a body of work that is not political, but timeless. Although the current climate may cast my work as controversial or difficult to receive, I have been painting for seventeen years and I have drawn upon the entire body of my life experience. I believe that my work has a truth and an inner resonance that carries far beyond the context of today.


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