In The Spring of 2013, I conducted a series of interviews at a women’s shelter in Asheville. I was interested in documenting real stories relating to the South’s ‘culture of honor’ and how it had directly affected women’s lives. There were certain recurring patterns. There was a repeating male type- the young man who is both sensitive and macho. The poet/musician/rebel. Such a person is at first in thrall to their partner. This dependency quickly leads to jealousy, suspicion and a need to control the other. I was often reminded of  Sam Shepard’s terrific monologue from ‘Paris, Texas‘.

Religion and addiction were prevalent in the lives of these men. A back and forth between beer-soaked atheism and teetotal fundamentalism. The stories, and the backroad places where they took place, greatly affected the next ballad paintings in the series.

I also began a series of separate paintings that would convey the tone of each interview, while maintaining the necessary anonymity.

For further explanation of how this painting was created, please visit the blog ‘Mary’.