Monday, 6 April 2009

Artist Statement

So very unexpectedly, I was selected as a featured artist for a publication at Swarthmore. I'm really excited and writing my 'artist statement' describing my work. The two paintings featured are Faces and Smiling Buddha. Here's a draft:

I paint whenever I feel the need to do. I stopped writing in my diary several months ago, I started painting instead. Each piece that I make is like a diary entry, a time stamp. I feel like I have a lot trapped subconsciously that I'm not entirely sure how to understand, interpret, or express in my daily activity. Painting allows me to bring these subconscious emotions out. I start whenever I feel inspired, which can be at odd times, and I strictly work from imagination. As I paint, I try not to control the direction of the work; it's constantly changing and evolving. Until I'm finished, I have no idea how the work will look. My goal is to let the painting paint itself. Once I'm done with a piece, I step back and analyze it to understand my state of mind at that point.

Looking at 'Faces', I see an expression of duality. The face on the right is docile, while the one on the left is angry. You can also see this in how some of the strokes are soft an blend together, while others are very discrete, linear, jagged even. It's also black and white. The basic idea is that the two faces are coming out of the same initial substance. I think this painting represents the face that I show to the outside world, contrasted with face inside, that's struggling with a lot of difficulties and reacting to them with anger and passion.

'Smiling Buddha' is similar to an extent - the 'smile' is not really a smile; it's an expression of power. I am taking Patterns of Asian Religions and I wanted to explore the idea of relic creation. In certain Buddhist cultures, the painting or 'opening' of the Buddha's eyes gives life, power, and deifies a Buddha painting or sculpture. I wanted to experience that. The whole painting is about taking a piece of paper and some colors and putting them together to make something powerful. I think that's why I am struck by it when I look at it. It's as if the Buddha gazes right through me. When I think I'm being really pretentious, I look at the painting and think, who am I kidding?

My therapist says that she wants me to be in relationship where the the picture paints itself. That's what I'm looking for in life, for all the pieces to fall into place without my trying to control them.