Christine Destrempes

Statement

Wet Dream

Wet Dream - monotype on handmade paper, 20" x 30"

My background is in graphic design, starting with a career in magazine publishing, then owning a design firm, and eventually working freelance in 1995, which afforded the flexibility in my schedule to allow painting and printmaking. My early paintings were landscapes in oil, mostly of water, and slowly evolved into non-representational work. After six years of honing my skills, a Boston gallery started to represent my work and then others joined in Concord, NH; Truro, MA; San Francisco, CA; Atlanta, GA; Naples, FL; and London, ON.

Morning on Norway Pond

Morning on Norway Pond - oil stick on paper, 22" x 30"

In 2002, an essay in The New Yorker, “Leasing the Rain” by William Finnegan, which was about the shrinking availability of clean water, made such an impression on me, I became inspired to use my creative skills to raise awareness about water issues through pubic-participation art. This coincided with a growing restlessness with my studio art. Each body of non-representational work was about a specific topic, but I was rarely asked what my paintings and prints were about.

Groundless #5

Groundless #5 - acrylic on panel, 36" x 36"

By 2009, after working as Art for Water for two years with hundreds of people of all ages, I had my first installation exhibit with the project, “13,699.” The projects I designed were for people of all ages and skills levels allowing me to work with schools from elementary through graduate level, museums, environmental organizations, churches, science centers, municipalities, and civic groups. Art for Water became Art & Dialogue as requests grew for using my model to address other environmental and social issues. After working with thousands of people nationally, I dissolved the non-profit and headed back to the studio.

Bliss

Bliss - handprinted tea cozy, linen, wool, cotton, 12" x 9.5"

I needed a break after trying to save the world and took one by focusing on making art for art’s sake, as well as tea cozies, hand-made books, and pithy buttons and coasters. This self-entertainment lasted about a year.

In 2010 my father passed, and when I helped my sister clean out his condo, I made a beeline to the two desk drawers that had been off-limits to me as a child. Simply opening them was a thrill. When I discovered archival ephemera documenting his family’s lives, I was ecstatic because my father could never talk about his childhood because of the losses he suffered when he was nine years old at the advent of the Great Depression—the deaths of his mother and grandfather within one month of each other, and his family’s loss of wealth. My father was a sensitive, complicated man—an eccentric who was just trying to fit in. Being a product of his and my mother’s early trauma, gave me lots of material for personal essays, which since 2006 I had written occasionally.

Every Penny

Every Penny - mixed media print, 9" x 12"

When I took ownership of the contents of the forbidden drawers, which have compelling graphic potential, I thought of making an art book of mixed-media prints that combined my essays with the discovered materials and history. However, when I began to work on the prints, I realized that my essays had a life of their own and a theme of their own and needed to be a memoir.

I’ve not abandoned the mixed-media print concept. It’s on hold while I finish my memoir, YOU INSTEAD, THE UNMAKING OF AN IDENTITY CRISIS.