Rosemary Daugherty

Early in life, Rosemary Daugherty has found in her creativity both a safe harbor and an observation point. Out of the storms of adolescence emerged a body of work with remarkable maturity, revealing a gift for capturing the female form in a way that was accurate in a most abstract way. Especially arresting was the way her figures inhabited their respective spaces with perfect grace and a whimsically achieved sense of realism. Her work during this period won numerous "school days" honors, including a Congressional Art Award.

Growing alongside her forays in fine art, Ms. Daugherty had a passion for fashion design and illustration. Leaving hometown Tulsa for a stint at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, she found an ideal curriculum for developing both. The experience there added some technical skills and experimentation with various media, and the cross-pollination between fashion illustration and fine art played perfectly into her evolving interest in the place of the fanciful femme in the realm of the aesthetic.

Upon her return to Tulsa, Ms. Daugherty's education continued with her first art-related "real job," a much-coveted position as studio assistant to Tulsa's nationally known painter, P.S. Gordon. Getting a fly-on-the-wall view of Gordon's technique, work ethic and business practices took the young artist up a steep and exhilarating learning curve in the world of a successful fine artist.

Meanwhile, Ms. Daugherty's own work had taken a turn towards a deeper exploration of the beautiful, shadowy world of the female psyche. Drawing on the pop art penchant for making novel use of found objects, she began applying her subject to such familiar modern elements as sheets of aluminum and salvaged house windows, using an ever-changing array of paints, crayons, nail polish and her signature favorite, cake glitter.

One body of Ms. Daugherty's work puts a modern "Americana" spin on the beloved European tradition of the Flemish realism movement of the fifteenth century: using polaroid camera shots to capture life in the lower middle class at its tinselly essence, she evokes a world that is quietly beautiful and strangely hopeful, even as it teeters on the edge of the existentially absurd. It's as if Jan van Eyck had set up his easel outside the Rosebowl Bowling alley, and painted a scene in which the ever-watchful eye of God peers non-judgmentally from the center of the red neon rose.

The heroines of this body of work are invariably women in some state of escape from an unspecified enemy. With titles like Take-Out on the Lamb, Lucky Stop # 2, and Silent Night, the paintings evoke a sense of profound peacefulness and security as experienced in the most transient of situations.

Ms. Daugherty's work has branched from this central theme expressed in complex compositions into a sub-theme worked out in very simple compositions. In a series of paintings the artist fondly refers to as her "Nudes and Foods", Daugherty places a vibrantly colored female figure in a single moment of time enjoying, for example, a warm bowl of noodles. The paintings are a celebration of pure beauty, even as they proclaim a strong sense of feminine identity that is not afraid to invoke the power of the high heel or glorify a womanly curve that defies the current media limits on size.


Oklahoma Magazine June 2003
Published in Oklahoma Magazine June 2003
Click image to enlarge.

Urban Tulsa Cover July 2002
Urban Tulsa Cover
Vol. 10 Issue 108 (July 25, 2002 -July 31, 2002)

Copyright © 2010 Rosemary Daugherty All rights reserved.