“Painting with re-purposed objects and mixed media, my work reflects and reconfigures experience in open-ended ways. Multiple individual wall plates become repeated forms, with switch spaces revealing another layer beneath. The objects retain traces of their functionality while being charged with possibilities of re-interpretation. As painting-objects, the works are formal constructions as well as intuitive explorations of elemental structures and our relationship to technology, coding, impermanence and shifting perspectives.”
BackgroundPainting with light, space and objects began with a repurposed window that I was exploring in a body of work. The window served as object, metaphor, mirror and lens opening into space. In a series of constructed pieces, colored light radiates from, through and around panels, illuminating space, objects and mixed media painting. One of the first pieces in this series, “Reflection on a Pipe” (2013) addresses the relationship between images and things, referring to Magritte's painting La Trahison des images (Ceci n'est pas une pipe) (The Treachery of images [This is not a pipe]).
Earlier works on wood panels focuses on the physicality of materials, colors and marks. Untraditional strategies, intentional irregularities and funky materials are in active dialogue with aesthetic design sensibilities. Surface texture evolved in relation to archetypal themes and personal experiences/observations in a series inspired by imagery and themes of Dante’s The Divine Comedy. The textures, colors and forms of “Purgatory” (oil and mixed media on wood, 2011; 82” x 54”) allude to Dante’s allegorical description of transformation through recognition and reconciliation of sins and virtues in the journey through Purgatory. “Adamantine” (white marble sand, plaster and oil paint, 2011; 42”x 30”), refers to the first of three steps leading up to Purgatory, and is about seeing ourselves as we really are. The scorched surface of “Perse” (burning on wood, 2011; 42”x 30”) is about the searing darkness of the second step, experienced when we see our shadows. In “Porphyry” (oil on wood, 2011; 42”x 30”), sheer red stokes on a naked wood panel convey the vibrant flame of faith and transformation in the third step. “Lethe” (oil, tar, marble sand and plaster on wood, 2011; 42”x 30”) reflects imagery of the dark, flowing river “thick with living green,” that washes away memories of sin in Earthly Paradise. “Empyrean” (oil, gesso, vellum and paper on wood, 2012; 42" x 30") draws from Dante's realm of pure light, geometry and freedom in Paradise. Printmaking was the beginning of my involvement with materials and processes beyond paints. Interacting with limestones, metal plates, acid, and engraving tools was as important as the images in my lithographs, etchings and monotypes. Figurative imagery was my window to work with the vitality of structure and flow, and exploration of other abstract pictorial elements.
Laurie Katz Yehia
January 29, 2018