We all have a story to tell. Every day, every moment our stories define us, complement us, embellish our egos, spread gossip, make connections and create communities.
Lorraine’s paintings, simply put, tell a story; some true and some made up. Some whimsical and some existential.
Lorraine’s work reflect her life and identity as a woman living with hearing loss in a hearing world and that of a second-generation Armenian born and raised in Fresno. A Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, art teacher for the deaf and conference speaker in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1985 she recently returned to Fresno in 2013.
The Deaf Culture is strong on community and it’s members’ notorious storytellers. They use ASL (American Sign Language) along with body language, facial expressions and nuances that produce a highly individualized visual picture that go beyond mere words. Often isolated due to communication challenges, it’s common for Deaf and hard of hearing to travel distances for all day gatherings, coming alive to recount the past and sharing stories; some factual, trivial, silly and/or serious.
Armenians are also a Culture in itself with Fresno “the ancestral home.” They too gather for weddings, picnics, baptisms, using the occasion to show off their offspring, scout potential husbands for their daughters, gossip, share recipes, and last but not least, discuss family genealogy.
When beginning an idea, Lorraine begins with the female face and/or figure creating a form for which a story unfolds. Being a visual communicator and an observer of human behavior no doubt precedes this interest. Lorraine incorporates ASL/ “Deaf talk,” deaf vs. hearing perceptions, Armenian language and icons, Christian and Catholic symbolism and pop culture. These images resonant for her and find their way into the painting.
Her work invites observers to create their own stories. In her own words: “as an artist and psychotherapist, I’m taken in by the mysterious hold creativity has on all of us. It remains a powerful process, a journey into the soul that for me simply means,“coming home.”
“Man cannot tarry long in a state of consciousness; he must retire again into the unconscious, for that is where his roots are.”
Paul Klee, Farbenlehre
Lorraine Kaye Peters