When did you first get inspired to paint underwater figures?
This series was born from a previous series where I was painting figures immersed in natural environments, connected with dirt, light, and leaves. The series was about the physical tie between body and nature, similarly to my newer water series. At that time, I was also working with imagery evocative of my childhood. I grew up in Florida, and the natural world was something I was always intoxicated by. I moved from the environment of dirt to water, as it was an equally poignant connection for me.
What medium intimidates you that you have yet to try?
Maybe encaustic? I also find watercolor exceedingly difficult.
There is just something so carnal about oil paint. I love the way it moves, blends, layers, and melts. It’s a love affair I can’t see dwindling any time soon.
What do you want the viewers to feel when they view your nudes and portraits?
I think the primary feeling I try to evoke with my imagery is a feeling of connection, connection to the most fundamental sensations that remind us that we are alive. My imagery is also meant to bring people into awareness of their bodies. Water is especially powerful in its ability to allow people to enter into a feeling weightlessness and connection. It’s as if water brings the viewers back to most primitive natal beginnings, and are unbound by societal pressures surrounding ideals of beauty.
This idea is pivotal in my work, especially for women, who I choose to paint. I want to make imagery that invites women build a relationship with their body, in a natural, judgment free state. These figures, held and cradled by water, and caressed by light, exist in a moment of ultimate connection.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be with and why?
I’m not sure. There are so many incredibly talented artists out there right now. I would like to collaborate with an artist in completely different medium, maybe sound or light installation?
What is next for you?
I have an upcoming show at Roman Fine Art.
Where can our readers learn more about you and your work?
I believe there are a few interviews dispersed throughout Google. I have also recently launched a YouTube channel where I plan to talk in depth about my process, and my work. Of course, there is always Instagram @reishaperlmutter. You can also view my site, reishaperlmutter.com.