Review from "Queen Anne News"
"Human bodies and nature intertwine
Her Pacific Northwest heritage is evidenced by paintings featuring madronas and beach scenes
Becker said her "work is more abstract than respresentational." She avoids certain specifics, like faces and clothing.
"Faces are so personal. I've avoided it because I don't want it to be a portrait of a person." Becker said.
She is also careful about clothing because that "starts placing it in time."
Becker's fluid handling of acrylic on canvas fools the eye into thinking the medium is oil. She attributes this characteristic of her work to previous work with oils.
"If I had not approached acrlyic as a new medium I think I might not have the same quality."
Becker switched to acrylic paint after her daughter was born because of the "oil paints toxicity".
Intensifying the feelings that her subjects are becoming one with their environment, Becker weaves the colors of each part of the painting into one other. In "Protean Self," the color of the woman's skin is brushed into the bark of the birch tree and hues from the bark are touched into the woman's skin.
"If you newly peel a birch, it's this color (flesh)," Becker said.
Playing with form lead to a crab shell found at Hood Canal becoming an abstracted heart shape in a painting on the wall of her living room.
She is "fascinated by the idea of transparnency. What if the body were to become transparent so our spiritual core could be seen?"
In "This Ocean" she starts with the fact that human beings are composed mostly of saline. The painting's subject "becomes sort of an aquarium or transparent vessel also submerged in the water."
Becker said she has become more interested in the effects of time and aging, reflected in her work with images such as flowers that are drying up."
"When a flower is in its prime I'm not so much interested in painting it. Like a gorgeous human being, when it come down to the essence that is left there is much more power in that."
Becker admitted some people think her work can be "a little dark, a little edgy, but I don't mind that. I think life is not so easily approachable."
While there is beauty in Becker's work, it's not "pretty" or "lovely".
"It's a different kind of beauty. It's beauty as power and beauty as life and time. There's something more visceral about it. Much as you would stand and see volcano going off, there's beauty in that powers."
She love the fact different people may interpret her work differently.
"I like the ambiguity."
When a friend confided she was disturbed by what she saw in one of Becker's paintings, Becker "liked the fact she felt that and she could tell me that." Even though Becker's intent with the painting was to create a strong, nurturing vision, "that, to me added richness."
Becker loves language as much as she is passionate about art. When she obtained her bachelor's degree at the University of Washington "my best year was the last year there when I took French and art classes."
She focused on drawing in college and start painting around 1990, taking classes with renowned paintings like Michael Spafford.
"I studied extensively, but never got an art degree."
After college, she taught English in France on a Fulbright Scholarship. After a stink in retail sales, she went to work for the Bellevue School District in 1998 teaching French at Interlake High School."
She "thought about being a botanist for awhile. "It was more the romance of the idea because I always loved long walks in the woods."
Becker's ideas for her work come from her ramblings in the woods or on the beach. Her mother taught her Latin and common names for the native flora they saw on their walks. "It's like a person, when you know their name there is an affinity created for it."
Art is a family affair for Becker. Her father is Charles Smith, the well-known sculptor who taught at the University of Washington and whose large abstract steel artworks can be seen at sites like Seattle Central Community College.
One of her two brothers teaches art history at the University of Maine.
"I was an inveterate doodler through childhood, sitting in my room." Becker said.
"Growing up, there were two things with no limit: all the fresh fruity we could each and all the paper we could draw on.