Hostile Family Portraits: Weird Contemporary Paintings

Mixed media oil paintings and collages on canvas and panel.

"Los Angeles based artist Carol Es thoughtfully meditates on memories of [their] fragile past and literally mends those reconstituted images together with thread directly on the canvas. [Their] art practice is a deeply intimate collage of memory as Es incorporates pattern paper, thread, and paint onto a single surface. [Their] works utter [their] story of her unusual childhood...

"...The dialogue between the paper form, the paint, and the stitching signal a laborious methodology and speak to Es's ability to transform materials elements of the past into an entirely unpredictable and new present."

- A. Moret, Whitehot Magazine"


My work is both humorous and deeply personal. It frequently includes my family members as cartoon characters while sharing candid stories about absurd episodes in my life. I combine master garment patterns of thick, manila papers against abstracted, generously painted backgrounds that often drip in colorful oil paint. My approach is meticulous, often obsessive, and I embroider to create textile details that marry together painting, collage, and fiber work. Underneath the paint, these master garment patterns are partially ripped away to create different textures. Threads hang, as if unfinished and tattered, or as if we are looking at the opposite side of the neater part of the tapestry. In many ways, piecing the work together in this way is akin to piecing together my identity.

Growing up in a chaotic household, I used my art as an escape from mental and psychological abuse. As I developed a sarcastic sense of humor about it, I hoped it would change the emotional effect it had on me. It hasn't worked yet, but I'm hopeful it still might.