Interstellar  Series :   Artist  Statement

I create paintings where concrete forms intermingle with elusive space, in an attempt to find balance. In a world increasingly dominated by technology, finding equilibrium, where the machine can meet the ephemeral, is of importance to me.

My recent works comprise of interstellar landscapes where the focus is on investigating how to probe depth of space through contrasting planes.

My paintings reflect a macro/micro space journey, with machines venturing into unknown realms. The concrete container is as much a spaceship traveling through the galaxy, as it is our bodies holding space for our spirit/soul to exist and reside in this world of the material.

 

Much of my work is composed in an additive and deductive manner, whereby layers of oil paint, sometimes mixed with encaustic wax and sand, are built onto canvas or wood panels. Then, either through scraping away the thick coats, or by removing tape meant to blotches out sections, the colours and rich surfaces beneath are revealed. 

My paintings are also inspired by materials and surfaces such as weathered doors and walls that serve as testimony to the passing of time. Imprinted by the beauty of experience, these surfaces parallel the depth and layers of the human existence.

After my father passed in 2011, I embarked on a journey to India in the hopes of coming to terms with my grief and the absence of his presence. Searching for the familiarity of that lost connection took me to Mumbai, Jamner, Jalgaon and Ganespuri. It was my first significant contact with the richness of Indian culture.

I was mesmerized by the colors and textures of the timeworn architecture with its weathered walls, the landscape scorched brown and beige, the vibrant pigments of the “holi” festival of color scattered like moving paintings, and the kaleidoscope of saris parading down the dusty streets.

 

Everywhere, I was welcomed with silent smiles of acknowledgement and quiet complicity. Amongst the Ashram’s sacred ancient grounds, populated with mythological statues, exotic birds announced the promise of morning’s arrival. Here, my inner compass was aligned; I felt a sense of rekindled hope. This series captures the colors and textures of my spiritual journey in India. The built layers of paint reflect the internal depths of my dreams, memories and mediation, where my father sometimes visited.

 

The impetus for creating these works is in remembering and sharing a journey of transformation from absence to presence; from separateness towards unity; from feeling adrift to feeling connected. I offer these paintings as mementos of a pilgrimage to a place and space that opened me up to the possibility of moving out of the dark and into the light again.

Quiet Fire :   Artist Statement

Each painting from this series deals with shadow work: the confrontation and coming to terms with an inner darkness, as well as recognizing and celebrating the light within. The Quiet Fire series is essentially about the convergence and coexistence of fire and shadows; of illumination and obscurity. It nods to the dark night of the soul and the significant transition that takes place when a deeper perception of life emerges.

It speaks of the importance of recognizing, accepting and even embracing our shadows within. The macro and micro shadows are intertwined; our fear of outside things (monsters, danger, apocalyptic scenarios, etc.) is directly proportional to our relationship to our own shadows. 

 

How does one dance with their shadow within? What would this dance look like? Would it be turbulent, graceful, fierce, perhaps even strikingly beautiful?

The painting, Quiet Fire, is about an inner flame or desire, that when left to its own devices and unacknowledged for too long will eventually push fourth and sometimes can come out in a rage: ablaze and crazed. It can also present itself like a whisper in the night. Whatever expression it may take to draw our attention, its emergence is organic, as the forces of nature within search for re-balance.

So, all is as it should be. Nonetheless, there is the notion that the amount of conscientious attention that is given to our inner callings will influence the color and force in which they speak to us. So, perhaps it is worthwhile learning to listen to the quiet whisper before it turns into a raging fire.

Elements :   Artist Statement

This series speaks of the immensity and intensity of life, that pulsates all around us and we sometimes feel like a mere speck of presence in this huge body of moving space. But similarly, when the droplet of water realizes that it is not separate from the ocean, then it understands that it not only moves when the entire ocean moves, but the ocean moves when it moves. It awakens to it’s inner power. Fear transforms into love. 

Nature is important in my work, as is the notion of slowing down in this fast paced world. This series attempt to join attributes and qualities of an inner calm and of a contrasting fierceness; merging the two into one, as nature often does. I acknowledge that these two forces exist within and strive to have them coexist, attempting to live both with mindfulness, while seizing the day and staying true to my passions.

Poseidon Embrace :   Artist Statement

This series references the dance that occurs when the ocean water and the air clamour to deeper and higher levels; reaching into the depths of its waters and then soaring upward to newer heights, in an attempt to grasp the sky; that realm where heaven and earth meet in the middle, sometimes in the midst of a storm.

 

An atmospheric winter seascape is generated from the imagination and inspired by stories of Poseidon, the ancient Greek sea god. A textural mix of wax, sand and oil paint are applied, worked and some layers scraped away to express an elemental landscape.

This series heavily focuses on the influence of time and its effects on objects. The interrelation between time and the inevitable transformation of material is a source of inspiration for me. Surfaces such as weathered doors and walls serve as testimony to this passing of time; the markings of having lived. Imprinted by the beauty of experience, these surfaces parallel the depth and layers of the human existence.

Especially in this series, I work in an additive and deductive manner, layering and removing coats of paint (with encaustic wax mixed with sand) from the canvas, building and then scraping away at it, in order to reveal the hidden colors and textures beneath. 

This series strives to communicate strength and vulnerability. Like a lotus flower emerging from the mud, these paintings acts as analogies of the human condition: the hardships and triumphs, the darkness and luminosity.

 © 2020 by Verona Sorensen  

Contemporary Art, Montreal, QC, Canada, veronasorensen@gmail.com

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