C.J. Lori



C. J. Lori is a self-taught oil painter and mixed-media sculptor. She holds an undergraduate degree from Boston University and has lived and worked as an artist in Brookline, Massachusetts for over thirty years. Her work reflects her interest in literature, anthropology and psychology, as well as an abiding fascination with the natural world. Often described as "neo-surrealism" or "magic realism," Lori's paintings explore the complex relationship between humanity and the environment.

Lori's artwork has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout New England, and in New York and Chicago. Committed to art activism, she served in 1997 as First Vice President of the National Women's Caucus for Art, and for several years as president of the Boston Chapter. In 1996, she co-chaired the national conference of the Women's Caucus for Art, "Transforming Tradition," in Boston. Lori has also served as a member of the Brookline Council for the Arts and Humanities, Inc.

Her other interests include reading (especially Henry James), traveling, watching professional football and science fiction movies, and walking her dog.

The desire to have another see through my eyes is a compelling motivation for my work. To me, painting is a form of communication through which I try to convey my experience so that the viewer will see what I see and feel what I feel. I exaggerate or distort color, form and composition to emphasize sensations that are often contradictory: clarity and mystery, excitement and sorrow, beauty and decay.

I paint a landscape as a metaphoric portrait in which we can see ourselves. The shapes, gestures and surfaces of the trees reveal my affinity for anthropomorphosis. Despite its status as scientific taboo, I prefer to explore the empathic implications of humanizing the elements of landscape. By identifying with our environment, we are more likely to appreciate its significance and fragility, and to deepen our individual connections with it.

My primary medium is oil paint on canvas, wood or panel. Paint is applied in many layers, building and adding nuance through color and transparent glazes. I often work with tiny brushes for fine detail. I find satisfaction in intricacy, because it appeals to me viscerally, and because it parallels some of the complexities I am trying to capture and express in my work. Through my paintings, I try to simultaneously celebrate the splendor that surrounds us while acknowledging its inevitable ruin.