Twists and Falls
Nature provides countless symbols through which the artist expresses truth, meaning, and can explore the interior landscape of the self. One example is the mysterious and unpredictable tornado, which has captured the imagination of many, including mine. Much remains unknown about how and why tornados develop. This scientific mystery adds to the allure of these dangerous and all-powerful storms.
Twisters embody a terrible beauty, not only because of their deadly potential, but also for their colors, forms, and movements, which are violent and magnificent. Their unpredictable nature and singular paths make them appear to posses a will of their own. Tornados seem to keep their own counsel, choosing to spare or destroy upon a whim. The incredible destructive potential of these storms force us to acknowledge how small and powerless we are, despite the illusion of control we foster.
For me the twister has come to represent the chaos and irrationality of our emotions and the uncertainty of life. At times we are surprised by the depth and breadth of our emotions. We are swept away by anxiety, anger or passion. We become swirling masses of emotions that cast detritus upon unsuspecting bystanders.
Simultaneously, the twister symbolizes change and forward momentum, which in times of personal stagnation can be the very catalyst we need. When a “tornado” has passed through the landscape, both real and figurative, has been cleared. Something new can now be realized. What positive outcomes could be affected if the power of a “tornado” could be harnessed?
Map For the Eyes
When I look at trees I see human figures filled with emotion, twisted and pulled in seemingly impossible directions. Trunks act as spines. Branches extend out in all directions like arms. A protuberance becomes the thrust of a hip. The anthropomorphic qualities of trees are especially apparent in winter, when they reveal their true underlying forms, their skeletons. But as of late I also see my own angst. My sojourn in Buenos Aires has been fraught with the prospect of losing someone very close to me, and as a result the incredible trees of this city have taken on even more dramatic roles in my mind. Sometimes they appear as figures with hands reaching out imploringly or cradling the self in protection, other times they are abstracted elements of human anatomy such as arteries, veins or nerves.
In winter the naked branches become a map for the eye to follow through the emptiness of the sky. As such, in these works I've focused on balancing positive and negative space, playing emptiness and fullness against one another, and providing places of great detail and nothingness in contrast. My palette, which ranges from browns to greys and greens with the occasional blue, reflects the colors of Buenos Aires as I see it.
The paintings in ‘The Wayfarer’ series are about contrasts, push and pull, and charting a course where possible whilst accepting that control is an illusion. They are about making plans in the face of uncertainty and seeing light within the dark. The Wayfarer reacts to and makes her way through lands of darkness and light, fullness and emptiness, lightness and heaviness, being pushed or pulled in an unpredictable environment.
The support upon which the series is painted is a synthetic paper called Yupo, which is made of Polypropylene, a thermoplastic polymer. Yupo is a surface that resists watercolor rather than absorbs as with traditional watercolor papers. Pigments on Yupo separate and move when saturated, thus rendering a state of controlled chaos in the paintings. The chaotic nature of the technical aspects of these works also acts in part as their subject. Additionally, certain non-staining pigments can be removed entirely, making subtractive work possible. Time, temperature, and gravity also play an important role.
The silhouette is a different way to look at the human body. Everyone’s silhouette is unique, yet without interior lines giving us a sense of a person’s features it becomes somewhat anonymous. The anonymity allows the viewer to relate to the emotional state rather than focusing on the appearance of a particular person.
I use the silhouette as a framework for the interior and emotional world that is contained within our minds and bodies. We interact with one another while never really knowing what is going on the inside. I also find it interesting that we are so intimately involved with our own bodies yet we have no idea what we look like on the inside, visually we only see the exterior; we sense the interior. What do our emotions look like?
The paintings in the silhouette series function as shaped etching plates would. The painting is contained within the silhouette much as an etching is contained within a plate and is surrounded by the white of the paper. In the case of etchings white space is completely acceptable. In a painting, it is unexpected. Furthermore, one expects to see a figure within a background, I am more interested in that which can happen within the confines of the figure physically and symbolically.