When I sat down to write this artist statement I found I was using the same prefix over and over to describe my work and artistic motivation. MULTI>>> “multicultural,” “multimedia,” “multifaceted,” “multi-surfaced,” “multiple viewpoints,” “multiple perspectives,” and “a multitude of factors” were all in my initial draft.
In many ways this age is defined by the global mass of digital experiences and information we instantly access and participate in. Yet there are ancient and traditional paradigms that continue to hold sway in today’s world. My work aims at representing this confluence using the conventional two-dimensional picture-plane as a ground on which pluralism is made visual.
The vessel is one art historical trope I utilize to portray multiple viewpoints within a single surface. I am drawn to the form because it lacks a singular reference; every society, in every age, has utilized the container in one form or another making it universal and multicultural. The vessel serves as a link between the inner and outer, the old and new world. The viewer can perceive an image painted on the surface of the vase, the room where it rests, the contents therein, and the focus of the figures who are often engaged in technological interfaces.
I am also drawn to the vessel and other utilitarian forms because of their association with domesticity and femininity. My work often behaves like a Trickster– wiggling through faux techniques or alternative constructs outside traditional painting. A piece can proclaim “I am not a painting, I am a mosaic!” or “I’m not an artwork, I am a stained glass window!” My rug paintings are literally walked upon– made from narrow slats of wood glued to the canvas. The pieces can be rolled up, stood on end, or laid flat on the floor. This transformability allows the work a flexibility and utilitarianism not often associated with painting. Through this “downgrading,” away from “high” art, I seek to elevate the common place and highlight the magic of the everyday.
My pieces have a dense and mosaiced surface derived from collaging printed and painted material with machine and hand stitching. I am drawn to pattern and to intense color creating a fast-paced viewing experience where details and meaning arise as one’s eyes move about the canvas. This is where distraction mets contemplation. While there is a found-objectness to my work, all the material is generated by my own hand creating a feedback loop of remixed artwork. In this world that is at once fast and antique, virtual and dated this allows me to synthesize a portrait of self where the multiplicity of experience becomes whole. – Paula Wilson
Paula’s website: http://paulajwilson.com/