"Curiouser is an unexpected sequel. I’ve never painted a companion for a previous painting before, and wanted this one to stand on her own as well as tie in to my piece Alice from 2021.
If Alice was about journeying through claustrophobia and sadness within the pandemic, Curiouser, based on Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, comes from a still further place of self-inspection: the German word written over the center as a benediction, wütend, is a particular favorite of mine, meaning intense anger or fury. By the end of Through the Looking Glass, the character of Alice has been tested to her limit, and, flying into a rage, finally finds the gumption within herself to say exactly what she feels: ‘"I can't stand this any longer!" she cried, as she jumped up and seized the tablecloth with both hands: one good pull, and plates, dishes, guests, and candles came crashing down together in a heap on the floor.’
And it is here we find her in Curiouser. Alice reminds me a little of myself - sometimes unsure of herself in situations until an intense feeling gives her the courage and energy to act. And maybe this intensity is only the beginning of recognizing what's been there all along, and leads to finally settling into companionship with that feeling, whatever it may be about. Alice holds the red queen and her reflection holds the white (or is it the other way round?) and all the characters gather around her. There's no madness to fear losing control to. She's infuriated, but it's all right. It is a feeling like any other, and has its rightful place.
As Mary Oliver writes, “To pay attention, that is our endless and proper work;” in this piece it is curiosity towards ourselves, with all our emotions, unprettiness and oddities, that is the gift offered up by the looking glass."