My paintings hearken back to a time when our society was driven more by human experience than virtual reality. Inspiration springs from observing the world around me and injecting each scene with a sense of memory - both personal and collective. Light and dark and shadows define the subject as well as the space and conveys a distinct mood, as do the works of Edward Hopper or Rene Magritte.
My process usually begins with inspiration from a place – somewhere I have visited, photographed, recalled or imagined. Born and raised in New York, I am accustomed to moving with the pace of this vibrant city. I am aware that I am constantly and rapidly processing visual information at all times. That which inspires me quite literally stops me in my tracks. I draw a series of rough sketches and then create the subsequent painting by reinterpreting the scene, defining the mood, and capturing the feel of a specific moment. I work with acrylic paints and superficial oil glazes to achieve the desired tones of light - contrasting spaces of subtle lighting effects punctuated by areas of deep darks and bright whites. I am judicious in my use of the human form. It appears in order to create physical or emotional tension or to represent a universal truth about the human condition. Much of the time, these figures are ageless and genderless. This allows each viewer to enter the piece freely, unencumbered by only my point of view.
I find contemporary life to be rushed so I intend for my paintings to provide an opportunity to slow down and take pause. The painting process calms my spirit, and a sense of quiet introspection and reflection is passed on to the viewer.
A recent review of my paintings sums up my objective: “The works in this space that detain the eye the longest are the paintings of Constance Manna, especially that of a stage door illuminated from above. Ms. Manna’s interior of a movie theatre…is no less pregnant with anticipation.”
Vivien Raynor. New York Times, August 1, 1993.