In my work, change, dynamics, transience, and flow are always present. As everything is relational and changing, the only way my work can exist is to do the same and it undertakes the theme of transience. It must change and be inseparable from the space where it is. Viewers experience my work by walking by, around, while the work change with time (“configurable smoke paintings”). I intent to emphasizes the instability of what we know as reality and the potentiality in what lays beyond the limits of conditioned sight and thought.

 

We create the appearance of the world in order to live and function in it. But it is not the ultimate world and it is not the world itself. As Alexander Nehamas has written, “The world is falsified by every one of our descriptions.... In itself, the world has no features, and these can therefore be neither correctly nor wrongly represented. The idea that we are necessarily incapable of representing the world accurately presupposes the view that the world’s appearance is radically different from its reality.”[1] The real world seems to be only a reflection of our own thoughts and ideas. My recent paintings, built up of many layers of highly reflective resin, experiment with this question through the utilization of reflective surfaces that bring the “outside” world and the viewer into space of the painting. The resin acts as a distorting mirror that reflects and transforms the viewer and the space around her.

As H.R. Maturana and F.J. Varela have written, “We do not see the ‘space’ of the world; as we live our field of vision we do not see the ‘colors’ of the world; we live our chromatic space.... When we examine more closely how we get to know this world, we invariably find that we cannot separate our history of actions – biological and social – from how this world appears to us. It is so obvious and close that it is very hard to see.” [2] These ideas are similar to the inseparability of my paintings from the world, from their space. When viewers look at the work, they see themselves clearly and their space becomes an element in the painting. The viewer is placed behind the smoke, and the blackness of the space makes reflections possible permits reflections to be seen.

 

There is a circular connection between action and experience. This inseparability between a particular way of being and how the world appears shows us that “every act of knowing brings forth a world.”[3] Being can only exist because of history and change and the idea of impermanence. Continual change and renewal are both inevitable and inherently valuable. As viewers move around my paintings, they are channeled by the reflection of the resin, which distorts and fragments them through the surface. The viewer’s shadows provide the ability to see the painting. The brushstrokes are fixed and never change, but one can also see the artistry behind them. They are constantly an event and constantly doubly frozen. They are frozen in the resin and also capture the transient reflection of the viewer.

 

In contradiction to the idea that perception is most likely the truthful reconstruction of some portion of the physical world, Varela introduces the idea of enactive position. The enactive approach posits that reality is not given, but rather depends on the perceiver. The perceiver, however, does not construct reality the way he wants. Instead, “what counts as relevant world is inseparable from the structure of the perceiver.”[4] In my paintings the resin acts as a mirror but also as something that shapes the viewer and the space around him. The reflective space is distorted depending on the viewer position. The only thing that is fixed is the space of the smoke.

 

According to Varela, we can’t suppose that the world is not pre-given but it is rather enacted. “The temporal hinges that articulate enaction are rooted in the number of alternative micro-worlds that are activated in every situation.”[5] The way we live in our little worlds is lacks intention, including dressing up and eating. We perform these routine actions without intention because we are experts in them. By repeating them so often, we have transformed these actions into embodied behavior. These simple, little happenings are usually overlooked. They are so well known that we don’t pay attention to them. But they are important to my work. My paintings draw out these transient moments and fleeting experiences, making them permanent and fixed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Nehamas Alexander, Nietzsche: Life as literature, Harvard University press Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England, 1985

[2] H.R. Maturana and F.J. Varela, The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding (Boston: New Science Library, 1987), p. 25.

[3] Ibid., p. 17

[4] Francisco Varela, Ethical Know-How, Action, Wisdom and Cognition (Stanford University Press, 1999), p. 48.