Mary Souza, Herald, oil, 68x56in

ARTIST STATEMENT

"The Jungian psychoanalyst, James Hillman, has said that the world does not ask for belief; it asks for noticing, attention, application, and care." John Westerhoff, Sensing Beauty.

As a painter I act as a witness: I attend to the world through my senses and the eye of my heart and, by the marks of my hand, respond with a record of particular presence. Every stroke and layer carries the history and immediacy of engagement—of artist with subject and material, and between spirit and form. Each encounter of viewer and image adds to the conversation, community, and life of the work.

I draw my subjects from my experience and memory. Some are figures in motion -- physically, psychically, and spiritually. Evoking liminality, they emerge at thresholds, boundaries, or margins. Others are visions of interior spaces: I shift focus, eliminating the boundary of the human form, to explore new layers of reality and the relationship between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Although the subjects are illusions on a surface, they are grounded in the materiality of the medium and evidence of process.

Using palette knives, my fingers -- and, occasionally, brushes -- and mixed media that includes oil paint, oil stick, wax, graphite and solvent, I build up the body of the painting by spraying, pouring, dripping, scraping, and sanding until the skin is thick and rich, both opaque and transparent, sometimes obscuring or protecting the body underneath and other times revealing layers of growth. I alternate between building and excavating, inscribing lines and then filling them in, until the work has acquired a patina of time, depth, and presence.

To me, the flesh and gesture of paint on the structure of canvas act to embody feeling. The painting becomes heart and spirit incarnated by matter, a body that ponders the mysteries of communication, connection, and transformation.


 
   © 2016 mary souza