Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Artist's Statement, November 2010


“These are not words I'm making up, these are the actual words that were used in ancient times to describe this. I think they called it the Flower of Life because it looks like a flower and because it [represents] the laws and proportions for everything alive and even not alive; everything that's manifested. ” Drunvalo Melchizedek, speaking in a presentation on the Flower of Life.

I have been creating art for as long as I can remember. Enrolled in various art programs since I was 9 years old, I went to a prestigious art and design high school, and then on to an even more prestigious fine arts college. I experimented with video and photography, I sewed dresses out of plastic bags and gauze and shower curtains, I put on avant-garde performance pieces and anti-fashion shows, and I left college with my “thesis” fitting into the constructs of a single DVD. After graduation, I took an extended break from art; I partied too hard at night and worked in a cafe during the day to just barely get by. After a series of disastrous, life-altering events, I found myself alone in an apartment I could barely afford, heartbroken, depressed, and nearly friendless. And that is when I started to paint again.

I studied Buddhism and learned to practice meditation. I started doing yoga again, and painted my first oil painting in nearly five years: Pyramid of Zen. (I had no idea what I was doing and it took , literally, years to dry.) The world had suddenly opened up, and the possibilities were vast, and I had a mission. I began painting Buddhas to give to my friends as gifts. I painted day and night, in all of my spare time. It became my joy. I experienced what some would describe as a spiritual awakening, translated into oils and acrylics, careful brush strokes, vivid and often psychedelic colors. Painting has become my life force: a methodical, intense exploration into the collective unconscious and the sacred balance of the universe.

Often, I feel uncontrollably compelled to repeat certain shapes and compositions (such as the flower of life or seed of life, and the sacred mandala). My tiny brushes seem to glide themselves through near-perfect spirals and swirls, and the petal shapes seem to multiply as if they were microbial fractals in constant motion. Revisiting high school geometry (but with more zest), and finding myself intrigued by the concepts of physics and quantum mechanics, I begin planning a painting by measuring and gridding out the canvas. Architectural drawing tools have become just as significant as the paint itself, for without them my mathematical fascinations would never be realized.

However, if all of the work I made always involved such extreme precision, I would soon drive myself insane. I shift the intensity from geometry to purposeful brush strokes and distinguishing color, inventing a language of flowers and bamboo, of portraits and empathetic perspective - a different interpretation of the same story. Over time, my two worlds have started to fuse together... co-existing like man and nature, like a careful blade of grass steadily and deliberately pushing itself through the concrete. Every so often I paint a self-portrait for the purpose of self-discovery as well as documentation, like a time stamp of my current mantra. Like any balanced system, it cannot always be love and light - the darkness is sometimes just as necessary for my interpretation of the human experience. The action of art-making becomes a harmony of problem solving equations and therapeutic expression, an attempt to explain, express, and assimilate the interconnectedness beyond man and nature - the vibration of energy that is in everything.

My paintings are interpretations of fascinations, obsessions, and respect for the natural world and the ethereal realm, and their complex relationship with humankind. I place them somewhere in between realism and fantasy; empathetic telepathy, spiritual awareness, and aesthetic beauty; moments of consciousness connecting the elements of nature, man, and god. I create because I have no other choice, and I seek to inspire, enlighten, and provoke my viewer; to share my vision and my passion.

I believe strongly that I should share this with the world. Spaces that are not everything there is, but that which is beautiful enough and important enough that we should celebrate them.

: Xtina Carbone (de la Schuetz)

“Art is in essence a gift to the artist from spirit. The drive to share one’s artwork with others is healthy and necessary. The gift must be given to the world.” - Alex Grey, The Mission of Art

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