After 5 years of art school at Columbus College of Art and Design, I worked for five years in the Los Angeles film industry as a conceptual designer making more money than I ever thought, but the voice kept calling, “I just want to paint.” I finally, (joyfully), acquiesced and have spent the last fifteen years working as a fine artist continually rediscovering, and uncovering.Studying with other artists and teachers, attending residency programs and workshops, spending many months of the last 5 years in Bangladesh, Haiti and Africa, painting the beautiful people I paint in my studio nearly everyday. It has been a path of constant unfolding and investigation of the artistic process. There is no division between my artistic life and my “regular” life.
In Kandinsky’s “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” he says,
“Consciously or unconsciously they are obeying Socrates' command
--Know thyself. Consciously or unconsciously artists are studying and proving their material, setting in the balance the spiritual value of those elements, with which it is their several privilege to work.”
An overwhelming desire to “know” myself, to understand not just my subject and medium, but what this is that feels it has to paint. This has been an ongoing practice and the foundation for twelve years of meditation. By asking “What?” when this feeling arises I just sit quietly, staying present. Never receiving a clear answer, more it is a marker for a growing awareness for a feeling of joy I experience when painting is arising.
My paintings, which used to be an attempt to copy directly what my eye witnessed, have shifted into an abstracted stylization of the figure that are more interested and curious with what is felt in a moment of witnessing rather than what is seen. An ongoing interest in the shedding of representationalism holds me on the edge of my formal artist training. It seems at some point the need for recognizable features will slide away but, today, I remain curious about the individual I am painting and how they mirror my own life. I feel such gentle compassion when I witness another’s life. The solid heavy background fills the negative space to hold the precarious figure in stillness and the wandering line attempts to define what cannot be defined. There is no attempt to smooth the surface and hide the artistic process that is evident through the layers of paint and underpainting. The painting is not an attempt to understand the portrayed person but rather a way to, over and over, witness this self, mirrored in another.
To purchase any of the pieces featured in the Remember Haiti Exhibit at Seattle City Hall by Olivia Pendergast please email or call 206-322-9374. Payment arrangements are available.
Blanc $5,100 Mama $4,900 Girl in Pink Dress $2,900 Red Jumper $4,100
Red Skirt $5,100 Security Sisters $3,900 Umbrella in the IDP Camp $4,900