I feel that I am involved with the relationship of imagery in space rather than the actual images themselves. Many of the images are combinations of tribal symbolism, elemental properties, religious beliefs, sex and gender concepts, and pockets of energy whether they reference a nebula in space or an explosion in Iraq. My dissatisfaction with my Evangelical dysfunctional childhood and Americas current political choices has propelled me to deal with something other than my own personal trauma. This work differs from my previous works which were figurative paintings that dealt with female perspectives on eating disorders, sex and gender issues, and self-perception. Ironically, my studies in Venice, Italy, projected me into abstract expressionistic work similar to those of the 40s and 50s. The work became about surface and paint experimentation of thick and thin. Now, I am exploring a combination of the figurative and abstract imagery with a specific focus on scale. I find a more atmospheric, landscape quality gives me a reference point that these constructed worlds have taken on. I have been looking at the works of Arshile Gorky, Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Julie Mehretu, and Kyuyoh Ishikawa because of their use of organic shapes and thin paint consistency. I have switched to acrylic and water on raw canvas attempting to enhance the properties of water and then sealing this into the canvas beneath layers of clear gesso, paint, and clear emulsions.About the artist: Erika Fortner began her training and career at the innovative and internationally renowned California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA, where she attended the CSSSA (California State Summer School for the Arts- Innerspark) honors art program awarded to the top artists in the state. During that time, she received various awards including the Seal of California, Honorable Mentions from the U.S. Senate, and also participated in an elite show held in the office of the Governor in Sacramento, CA. For more than 8 years, Erika has collaborated in various exhibits and single female artist shows in Southern California, and more recently in Brooklyn, NY. Some of her work has been published in the Back Alley Arts Magazine which is associated with names like The Museum of Fine Art, The Guggenheim, and The Whitney Museum of American Art. Furthermore, a collection of her paintings have debuted in a 2004 film released under The Asylum Production Company. More recently, Erika moved to New York from California to attend the prestigious art school, Pratt Institute. While continuing her work as a professional artist she also works as a high-end freelance cabinet maker and finisher.EDUCATIONPratt Art Institute, Brooklyn, NY, BFA PaintingTechnology Development Center, Ventura, CA, Digital AnimationVentura Community College, Ventura, CA, DrawingCal Arts Innerspark, Valencia, CA, Painting, CeramicsSOLO EXHIBITSAUGUST 1997- Dreams, The Daily Grind, Ventura, CASELECTED JURIED EXHIBITSJANUARY 1998- Human Form, Governors Office, Sacramento, CAGROUP EXHIBITSSEPTEMBER 2006- Pratt in Venice Group Show, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NYSEPTEMBER 2006- Featured through Medium NYC- Emergency Arts in Chelsea, New York, NYNOVEMBER 2005- 31st Annual Holiday Show, Printmaking, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NYOCTOBER 2005- Fall Group Show, Fine Arts Office, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NYAPRIL 2005- "Merit Award Competition", Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NYAPRIL-MAY 2005- "Neighborhood Gallery Project", Peaches and Cream, Brooklyn, NYMARCH 2004- Equality Now - Domestic Affairs- A piece donated for auction to benefit womens rights, Locus Media Gallery, New York, NY.MARCH 2002- A Celebration of Women, Caf on A, Oxnard, CAOCTOBER 1998- Into the Night", Ventura Theatre, Ventura, CAAUGUST 1997- Student Thought, Cal Arts, Valencia, CAPUBLICATIONSSEPTEMBER 2006- Exhibition Catalogue for fall 2006MARCH 2004- A film debut with the film titled "Evil Eyes"- Four pieces used in a horror film created by The Asylum Production Company in Los Angeles, CA.APRIL 2004- "The Back Alley Arts Magazine"- 8 paintings were published in the April 2004 of this online publication associated with names such as Simon & Schuster Publishing, The Museum of Fine Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Forest Scott Gallery.