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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Rebecca Litt

Rebecca Litt

Leggy, pot-bellied women and bearded, slouching men inhabit rooftops and partially-enclosed vacant lots in a city that closely resembles Brooklyn. They hide under bubble wrap, construct creaky forts out of warped boards and orange construction fence, and work industriously to erect flimsy barriers. What they are hiding from is not exactly clear, but clinging to permeable barriers, such as plastic netting and incomplete fences, offers at best a false sense of security.

Like characters in a novel, the people in my paintings unquestioningly accept absurd or unlikely situations as normal. The settings follow directly from the characters' emotions; the compositios are as spatial visualization of the emotional boundaries people construct as they navigate interpersonal relationships. My frequent consumption of fiction influences the way I think about art making. I want my paintings to have a novelistic, artificial quality, rather than be tied to fact and first-person perception in the manner of a documentary or a memoir. Thus, although there is a degree of naturalism in some of the details, the work depicts an invented, introspective world; a fictionalized autobiography loosely inspired by my own experiences.

I work mainly from my imagination, with the help of mirrors, studies from life, and photographs. I usually start by drawing improvisationally, letting the imagery evolve organically and spontaneously. The drawings suggest a loose narrative for the paintings, which together form a series of related vignettes about the same or similar characters. I often play around with negative and positive space, painstakingly painting imagery glimpsed through a construction fence square by square in order to preserve the brilliance of thinly-painted orange in the foreground.


2007 Indiana University School of Fine Arts, Bloomington, IN
M.F.A. in painting

2001 Tufts University, Medford, MA and
School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
B.A. (Political Science) summa cum laude with high thesis honors
B.F.A. (Painting)


2009 Cultural Exchange Grant, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts
2007 Anthony Moravec Traveling Fellowship, Indiana University Florence
Ilknur P. Ralston Memorial Award, National Society of Arts and Letters,
Bloomington, IL
2000 Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society


2011 Walden, Deborah, “Rebecca Litt: Urban Realities,” Nashville Arts,
December 2011, p 64-67
Breakthru Radio, Interview with Thomas Seely, “Art Uncovered,”
September 13, 2011

2010 Kalm, James, “Brooklyn Dispatches: Those Damned Weeds,”
The Brooklyn Rail Dec 2010/Jan 2011

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