My recent work is made entirely from the imagination using my PEMA© technique. Inspired by cloud-watching, images appear from a richly textured, multi-layered background. These images are developed subtractively, by painting the ground in around the ﬁgures. I developed the PEMA©technique in response to my interest in the writings of Jung, most speciﬁcally his ideas about symbols and their relationship to the subconscious mind and the collective. In a modern world where emotion is equated with weakness and emotional repression is a given, I am seeking out emotions through the work, both my own and those of the collective. I am simultaneously trying to balance the Apollonian and Dionysian ideas of beauty. I want my work to balance on the edge between them; crude and distorted enough to strongly display the emotions present, yet simultaneously informed by technical skill. So, although the representation is crude, the anatomical understanding of human and animal forms remains intact. The layering of epoxy and mixed media elements, the metallic and iridescent pigments used and the layering process illustrate a technical mastery in contrast to the crude images and evoke an object-based mystery in viewers who immediately want to know how the work is made, what it is made of, etc. This mystery echoes that of the “magical” appearance of the subject matter. As for my inﬂuences, they are varied—the expressionist movement, Jungʼs writings, Buddhist studies, my formal training in science (My research experience has given me the ability to mix media with impunity!), years of open ﬁgure drawing sessions, and my love of nature, natural textures and cloud-watching. My personal background is colorful and my career path unconventional. I was fortunate enough to grow up in an Appalachian world ﬁlled with natural beauty and natural cruelty, populated by the humorous and kind-hearted folks that such a world evokes. Their keen sense of independence and other-worldly focus continually inspires my life and my work. The search for a visceral understanding of the meaning of life is real in Appalachia, as is the search for God. This explains more about the poverty and addiction problems of the region than 100 treatises on the same. I continue this search through my work and hope to give it sincere form, in both its anguish and its joy.
Artist's Bio: click here
Alex Grey and the healing power of art
"The creation of the art is a release of energy. Just like an emotion. But a lot of people are not comfortable with the release of emotion. Our culture has a lot of rules against it. But somehow, the subconscious mind can release energy and emotion through this act of art making. And it builds community when people do it altogether. They become bonded, somehow. ... I can't explain it, but it's a healing force in that way."
Thoughts on Themes
"I don't really like to work with themes at all. I just make things. When I make a painting, I have no idea of what I'm going to make a painting of, and I like to work that way. But I've noticed that it's not in tune with the modern world because what makes people interested in art is the concept. I have no concept, I'm just working with emotion and intuition."
"I want to do work about stereotypes, but not in a boring way. I want to take items that are associated with stereotypes. ... you could build a girly girl sculpture with sparkly and pink things and hair brushes. I think it would be fun and interesting."