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I am currently exhibiting my painting 'Shadow' or 'Swimming with Crocodiles' in the current exhibition 'MONO' by Aishwarya Kulkarni. The young curator Aishwarya Kulkarni, whose website has the so soft and beautiful sounding name MI-SUL ( Mi-Sul means art in Hangul), curates with 'MONO' her third exhibition and I am very happy that she has chosen my work for her exhibition.
I started 'Shadows' in 2017, pregnant with my second child, and could not finish it until the birth. The painting was created after a drawing I had made before and as mostly, in the moment when the first sketch was made, I had no idea of what was moving me inside or how this image came to me. And as always, the subject is both, intimate and universal.
"What is most personal is most universal." by Carl R. Rogers
So what moved me, and this revealed itself much more over the coming years, were shadows - mine. I asked myself, what parts of me am I not aware of? What am I not able to see? What do I not want to see or have true? What am I really like when I am whole?
The question that also moved me was: What really inspires me in my artistic work?
I pursued this last question in an artistic crisis, sometime in early 2017. For 4 weeks I put down my brushes and pens. I needed to take a break to get to the bottom of myself and my inspiration. Was it really what I thought inspired me or was I blindly following a path trodden by myself?
I had done several commissioned pieces at the time, and by now felt terribly locked in between the perceived expectations of my clients and my own expectations of myself to be authentic. The thoughts in my head were paralyzing me. I had no joy in my art. This was a disaster.
I needed to do something by doing nothing.
So, I started observing myself when I was walking or shopping or riding the bus. What did my eyes linger on and why? What evoked feelings of joy and excitement in me? I wanted to get to know myself anew.
To my surprise, it was "colors and shapes" that were my biggest sources of inspiration. Just that, so simple.
With this realization, a yet unknown universe opened up in me. I began to understand abstract art and to see its beauty. I had rarely been able to do that before. And after I gave birth to my son at the end of the summer of 2017, and the first six months had passed, I began to draw strange new shapes on paper while he nursed and fell asleep on my lap. And it delighted me! They surprised me, these new figures and strokes! I felt free, liberated from myself and what I believed about myself, at least in some ways.
My little son wasn't a big fan of sleeping until he was three, so it took until 2019 to continue painting on 'Shadows'. When a painting has had taken a long break, it sometimes feels impossible to continue the thread started long ago. The subject of the painting may have already been felt enough and processed and no longer urges exploration. Images and ideas often only have a certain time in which the energy for them is fresh and flowing. After that, it either remains an idea that is no longer pursued or they can evolve from a new perspective, the current being in the now.
The topic of my own shadows was not finished for me in 2019 and I had gained new insights into it in the two years and also found new questions.
There are 13 years between the births of my two children. Being pregnant again, in a new relationship with a new partner and partly old fears and imprints was an adventure. I asked myself who I was, who I wanted to be, how I wanted it to be- Everything! I bumped into my limitations and resistances.
When I picked up the brush again in 2019 and continued painting on 'Shadows', after a brief stall, everything happened very quickly. I felt my answer to my questions and I integrated what I had achieved in the past years. I painted my "yes" to myself, my desires and my inner parts. I painted my courage to swim in unknown waters, with my shadows, come what may. I painted new more abstract color areas and shapes into it. I celebrated my joy in these new discoveries and "gave my monkey sugar" without thinking. The look of the female figure is bold and determined. You can see the knowledge she has gained. The crocodiles are transformed. Their teeth are still pointed and sharp but they have none of the unfathomable demonicness of the earlier version.
'Shadow' or 'Swimming with Crocodiles' marks an important turning point in my artistic work and personal development. It is the point where old and new meet and therefore very close to my heart, which is why I chose it for 'MONO'.
I invite you to visit 'MONO' until August 31. 21 artists, 21 artistic works and their story are waiting to be discovered by you!
From my heart to yours
PS: The painting is sold, but you can order Fine Art prints of it. You find the link down here, under the comment section.