In reaction to the current situation of global dysfunctional politics, I have been inspired to translate historical news photos into paintings. In the face of constant media coverage of war and disasters, both natural and man-made, we are no longer shocked by that which should shock us. Through the process of painting I hope to create an opportunity for people to really take a look at what is going on and then to be inspired to take action.
I choose the images I can’t stop thinking about. As I enlarge them, because of the poor photographic quality of the originals, I have to invent my own version of the details. At first I stick close to the source photo, but as I work some things are omitted and others are added. Each painting takes on a life and logic of its own. The final product is always very different from its inspiration. What it does convey is the feeling the photo evoked in me when I first encountered it. I often feel compelled to paint more than one version of each scene varying the size and composition. Only after a painting is finished, sometimes long after, can I observe it objectively.
Winner of the Sanchez Art Center’s Left Coast Annual Award, Traeger presented her work in a solo exhibition in April 2014. Her work has also been featured recently in Smith Anderson Editions’ Gender Specific show, and in Artik: Art and Architecture’s 20th Anniversary Exhibition.