Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Part 2 - The Fractal Path of Descent

A theopoetical Meditation on the writings of soren kierkegaard

“Each painting is an adventure…a walk into the wood toward an unknown ending. With abundant courage I step out of the embryonic warmth into the darkness alone waiting for sparks of color to run down my arms and through my wrists only to slowly drip from my fingertips.”
Heather Thompson, Artist Statement 





Stepping up to the blank canvas, I allow my hands to express what they feel and follow any urges that arise. This creative method arose from my own path of descent, through which an innate talent for painting suddenly awakened within me as a result of a traumatic brain injury in 2011. With a combination of synesthesia and acquired savantism, I am able to intuitively access the right hemisphere (deep ocean, subconscious) part of my brain as a means of comprehending complex theology. Color, therefore, is generally an easier and more multi-dimensional language that allows me to interpret challenging ideas before condensing them into the written word.

There are no accidents when embarking on this kind of a painting journey; everything becomes an expression of intuition and conceptual thinking. After the painting is finished, I then attempt to apply words to explain the art, although it is often impossible to capture all of the interpretive dimensions in the linear style of academic writing. Thus, I begin with poetry as a means of allowing holographic word play to provide an appropriate bridge to a more explanatory method of communicating the art to others. In this way, I approach my theological process from the opposite perspective – the inverse - as the paint must travel through my body and out onto canvas in order for the words to emerge in the form of conventional language.

This painting process is depicted in the compilation video included as a part of this final project. Note that the artistic journey begins with a powerful first layer - a phoenix emerging from the fire. Contemporary form is then added through images and words placed in a collage. Fluidity is then applied over the top via acrylic pouring medium with a variety of colors intermingling through the paint. Images are still visible beneath the transparent fluid composition. Heavy gel is then mixed with a variety of green hues over the top of the previous layer.

As it thickens, I feel the urge to scrape across the canvas using a palate knife. When I do so, the images beneath begin to peek through again. I feel the urge to dip my fingers into the paint and splatter it in a variety of colors. The lack of control is balanced by the angle of my hands and the colors I choose. What would appear to be chaos then transforms into a fractal - the beauty of a tree with subtle hints of a volcanic explosion. Suddenly, I realize that the tree is my metaphor for Kierkegaard - specifically the path of descent (more to follow in the next section).

I sensed, however, that I was not finished. A pile of green glop sat on my art table, and I felt the immediate urge to place it on a new canvas. Surrendering to the unknown once again, I covered the long and lean empty space with the remnants of the prior painting. When adding in complex browns and creams, I once again noticed the beginnings of a tree. Flicking color up and down the canvas just as I had done before, the form of the tree began to take shape. Then it stood in my art area for a few weeks. It did not feel finished, yet it was not time for completion. I waited for the desire to arise within me, only to discover one day that it was time to paint over all of it in bronze and black. With an overarching rule that I shall never be afraid to destroy a painting, I bravely covered the entire canvas in the intuitive color that I imagined – bronze and black. The structure of the tree was apparent in the texture beneath the new layer of paint, but it was still not finished.

With a sudden reach for pyrole red, I squirted a stream of paint across the canvas. Aha! It was in that moment that the second tree emerged. Although it was substantially different from the original painting, it remained rooted in the same artistic process and even the same paint.

Click Here to watch the VIDEO of the artistic process

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