Informed by my subjective experience, my artistic practice addresses both the intrinsic beauty and chaos of life. It is self-medication, where my relationship with my mind and body is translated into the abstracted and figurative depictions of the human form. All aspects of my life come together in a visual Gesamtkunstwerk, the different element complimenting and informing one another. Here is a little of what underpins my practice and makes me tick. Do join the conversation and let's dive deep together.
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) inspired my focus on compositional values through his spiritual theories of abstract art — resulting in abstract paintings, which I later developed. Considering that “the more abstract is form, the more clear and direct its appeal” (Kandinsky, 1977, p. 32), I experimented to see if this was relevant within my work. I found greater success without total abandonment of form, but included floating geometric shapes to abstract figural elements, considering the spiritual impact of composition and finish.
Kandinsky, W. Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1977)
Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater hypothesised that human consciousness “extrudes into the external world” (Tillett, 1986, p. 224) as thought-forms, inspiring me to focus not only on figural elements but on the surrounding space, considering how the emotions of the subject could distort the areas around them. I translated this through varied applications of paint — frantic scratches, liquidus drips or careful blending — dissolving the subject into their thoughts.
Perhaps the greatest influence to my development as a painter. It offers the liberating view, that when one listens to their intuition and lets go of expectation and inhibition, what is created is authentically perfect. With this mindset, one can tune into their emotions, mind, and body, and let the creative energies flow through them onto the canvas, letting go, without fear of making mistakes. It also allows for the painterly process very physical, and I fell in love with loosening up and using my body expressively and energetically. To me, is means total self-expression, and tapping into something mystical and spiritual, almost as if the artist has become a conduit to the creative spirit of the universe.
“Characterised by gestural brush-strokes or mark-making, and the impression of spontaneity.”
“Action painters — directly placed their inner impulses onto the canvas”
“Colour-field painters — deeply interested in religion and myth… created simple compositions with large areas of colour intended to produce a contemplative or meditational response in the viewer.”
— (Tate, n.d)
The importance Lee Krasner (1908-1984) gave to intuition — of “inner rhythm” and “inner voice” (reminiscent of Kandinsky’s “inner necessity” (Sadler, 1977, p. 29), heavily inspired my process and attitude towards painting — urging me to have the confidence to make bold and gestural brushstrokes, choosing to leave negative space for effect. My physical painting process became more spontaneous, expressive and free, as I attempted to tap into a spiritual flow.
Mark Rothko (1903-1970) intended his paintings to offer a spiritual experience, through scale and vast expanse of colour. This inspired the scale of my paintings and my exhibiting of the largest three together, forming a triptych, increasing their impact. Rothko inspired my washes of prussian blue glaze to add depth, accentuating emotional feeling to evoke a spiritual resonance in the viewer, with the aid of figural elements.
“Floating rectangles of luminous color on enormous canvas, manages simultaneously to convey a deep sensuality and a profound spirituality that evokes a numinous feeling” — Yoon, 2010, p. 53.
My use of oil paint is inspired by Andrew Salgado’s (1982) intricate and colourful paintings, innovatively depicting the human form, showcasing many possibilities of the medium. Combining representational elements with abstract and figurative configurations, shapes and patterns, Salgado inspired a broadening of my colour-palette, new ways of distorting figures with geometric shapes and unconventional colour, investigating a range of tools and oil mediums.
“I believe in a deeply ordered chaos in my work,” Francis Bacon (1985) The South Bank Show. Bacon’s work influenced my own thematically through his engagement with Existentialism — “violent and contorted figures… bleak in their depiction of the existential anguish of the individual” (Tate, n.d.). His 1944 triptychs inspiring me, their “arrangement [being] of such disturbing originality” (Ficacci, 2006, p.13), describing “some undefined and inhuman violence that occurred in an unseen space and time beyond the limits of the painting” (ibid), inspiring my large triptychs, seeking to express similar elements of the existential dread. Bacon’s grotesque manner smearing of paint influenced figural elements — faceless beings, and long, tentacle-like fingers.
Consciousness, The Body, Mind & Soul.
For over half my life, I have experienced sleep paralysis, a sleep disorder that takes place in the hypnagogic state, where one becomes conscious, while the body remains asleep. I often wake up unable to move or make a noise, with sensations of being touched and pulled by invisible forces, and even the experience of being out the body. Fascinated by the occult and the supernatural from a young age, I was quick to put these occurrences down to the paranormal; naturally. I later discovered what sleep paralysis actually is, which did little to curb the dread I felt going to bed, even with the knowledge that what I felt and heard were auditory and sensory hallucinations. The relentless repetition and intensity of these episodes imbued in me a questioning of consciousness, and the existence of a soul as separate from the physical body. Raised with Christian beliefs, I would resort to prayer as the hallucinations grew increasingly malevolent, despairing at their total lack of alleviation. In research, I came to discover a new term for my experiences, astral projection, subsequently becoming acquainted with Eastern Spirituality. The viewpoint from which I was approaching my situation left me helpless, whereas this alternate spiritual mode of thinking gave me the power as an individual soul, to combat my nightly terrors. While I still experienced fear and anxiety, I later learned to let go and accept these episodes, leading to the sensation of leaving my body, along with incredibly vivid, eye-opening lucid dreams.
For the duration of my life, I have battled in my relationship with my own body. With an unrelenting inner dialogue, and prone to compulsive and obsessive behaviours, I often fall victim to my own self-destructive tendencies. Part of me seems to forever seeking to destroy the form I find myself in. These anxieties are described in my art, whereby through abstracting the human form, and commonly working from images of my own body, I am able to self-soothe, and exercise acceptance of both my mental and physical state.
The theory of numerous realities existing around us simultaneously, inspires a use of fragmentation and abstraction in my work It reflects that what we see as physical is not permanent. There exists more than what we perceive as reality.
RESEARCH & WORK IN PROGRESS
Feminine Divine & Fertility Flower
Cundi & Tarot Bodhisattva. Buddhism, Feminine. Kali, Mara, Maya. Life is an illusion.
Part I The Age of Aquarius signifies a raising of the planet's frequency, and a return to the Divine Feminine, sparking a personal exploration and reflection of Femininity, and a reacquaintance with Feminist Theory. It's fascinating to consider the impact patriarchal ideals impose on one's life and self-view. It can be a liberating realisation; anxieties stemming from external and invalid values do nothing to serve and can be released. I considered my preference of depicting my own female body, reflecting on my relationship with my body, appreciating its ability to create life for the first time. This is something I had lost, due to amenhorrea and self-inflicted ill-health. In the case of this being irreversible - how differently would I view myself and my body, if I was unable to carry out its natural, traditional purpose. The sketches below depicting the female anatomy, adorned and morphed with natural and floral imagery, to show our intrinsic bond with Nature and Mother Earth. I recognise I use traditional depictions of femininity: soft, and delicate, and of course, identifying as female does not require an adherence to this representation. Part of the research was a personal consideration on my own sense of gender -- a lot to unpick; uncovering conformities to unrealised societal and cultural norms. In the first sketch, the predominant use of red connotes the menstruation, the inner body, and a sense of darkness and danger. The faceless figures suggest a loss of identity, and also a conformity, in the pose of the figure on the right in profile. In the second, the lower half of the female body is depicted, opened at the waist with colourful configurations floating out. The mood is lighter, due to the illustrative style and smiling face on the green drop, although it still retains a sinister air: the skin on the body is dull, and the body is still severed, with innards spilling out. It is as if to say, there is colour and life inside you, but you are just the vessel. The crotch of the figure is blotted with red, alluding to a disconnect and injury.
Part II Leeor Alexandra, check out her video. She explains it is easy to generalise, but it is not the patriarchy we need to rebel against, but the imbalance of masculine and feminine energy. This has definitely altered my point of view from Part I; there is no sense in polarising, and also, both genders do perpetuate patriarchal ideals, bit of chicken and the egg, right. It is more productive to realise there is necessarily masculine and feminine energy within us all, and we must honour them both. Also give the AMP episode a listen.
AMP, 307. The Sacred Masculine Archetype with Erick Godsey & Kyle Kingsbury
Leeor Alexandra. Secrets of the Divine Feminine and Masculine Energies in the Collective
READS & LISTENS
Eckhart Tolle. A New Earth
Dr Joe Dispenza. Becoming Supernatural
Dr Michael Greger. How Not To Die
Tim Ferris. The 4-Hour Work Week
The Bhagavad Gita
Napolean Hill. Think & Grow Rich
Carl G. Jung
Is Adlerian psychology of psychodynamics and teleology compatible with the concept of karma?
"In times of peace the warlike man attacks himself", Nietzsche.
How to bring the most value to others through art.
How to only take what is necessary.