Artist's Statement

I paint portraits of film and television characters.

I am interested in what a viewer brings with them when looking at a painting of someone they recognise, in terms of memories and references, and how blurred the line between fiction and reality can become. I aim to create a new and heightened reality for the characters I depict.

Using oil paint like watercolor, I build up the paintings in thin layers to make the surface glow; an imitation of the cinema screen. The green skin color references traditional techniques of painting, where green was used as under-painting to give luminosity to the surface color. The blue skin tone suggests the glow of the screen on a viewer.

The following text was written by Laura Oldfield Ford:

"To visit the parade of ghostly perfection in Josie McCoy's exquisitely rendered paintings is to witness the markers of an interior landscape. We are hostages to these faces for they cannot be erased from the minds eye, to confront them is to experience a sense of unheimlich, the uncanny, I may not be able to name them but I carry the index of their image with me.

"The faces of the subjects, almost always women, are the smoothed over and unblemished masks of the global videodrome. There is something of the chimera about them, a haunting. They loom up from the canvas, floating glassy eyed, impervious to the world they cast their gaze upon. These are the blank stares of the undead, self renewing, waiting for the fantasies of the viewer to be projected onto them. They are the archetypes of female beauty in a shimmering heterotopia, they persist as a tide of eternal disappointment in what we are and what we aspire to be.

"The seamlessness inherent in these paintings imbues them with a dream like, almost Lynchian quality. What we are being given is a sequence of glimpses, the imagination is left to construct the context. We are left to draw on mediated references by mining a store far more extensive than we might have imagined. These images seem familiar precisely because they have been settled within our psyches for so long. The spectacle does not carry us along, we carry it, it becomes suffused in our own subjectivity until we cannot disown it. It is no longer a glowing phantasmagoria that bewitches us but something deeply implanted and internalized, an inescapable part of ourselves."