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Category Abstract | Sarina Villareal

Abstract

Evolution of Process

I’m always very excited for upcoming exhibitions. Not only does it mean I’m gaining the opportunity to get my work out in the world, but I am also inclined to try a new direction, subject or a new style with my work.

Exhibitions are sometimes like a test market for future work.

I’ve been working with idea of memory degradation – if I study this thing now and paint it later what will it look like, what do I remember, and how to I treat areas on canvas where I’ve forgotten the form of the thing? While this idea hasn’t changed, I’m now approaching “transcribing” the form of my subject differently.

Until this spring, my process would be to study a subject – florals or botanicals, create a blank but textured background loosely representing the type of soil or ground that the botanical would exist in but also remark to an “empty mind” or a blank thought. On top of that I would paint what I can remember my subject looking like.

I’m approaching my process differently now.

I’m inspired by a great many things. Leaves vibrating in the wind, the composition of colors and form on my breakfast plate, the color of the light before a storm (yeah, all that dramatic artist stuff). Mostly what inspires me, though, is other paintings. When an artist I admire creates something new, it is profound in how I then approach my art making. What I have noticed is the use of negative space as a foreground in contemporary painting. There’s something unnerving about seeing something up front when life experience tells you that it should be behind another thing. And so that is how I’m approaching my subjects now.

Now I start with the subject. I paint all the portions of it that I can remember, and attempt to recreate portions that I vaguely remember. Then I use a background color to fill in the space around the subject, mask out areas of the form that I’m sure of and translucently paint over areas that I feel are incorrect. More so than ever, my paintings are reflective of how the mind works when trying to recall memories. If you really thought hard about what a closeup of an orchid looks like, you would see some areas in detail while others slip away into the fog of once known information.

 

New work displayed in August 2015 at 15th Street Galley in SLC will have this style on display and available for collectors.

> See Cannaceae
> See Iridaceae

Street Art

 

Last year I was invited by the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art to participate in the downtown new year’s eve event “Secret Eve.” It’s an event where 13 artists create some-what hidden street art and new year revelers hunt to find each one. It was my first street art project and I knew exactly how I wanted to create a public piece.

When I paint, my palette that I work from becomes a blend of color and each palette chromatically represents a painting I’ve completed. I tend to use and re-use one paper palette for each acrylic piece whether it is 48″x62″ or a 12″x12″. I have never considered the mixing surface as an art piece it’s self, but found something beautiful in each one. The paint is thin and transparent in some areas, while other parts are thick with layers of flesh tone fading from a warm beige to a blush. My abstract palettes are vibrant with each bright color complementing another.

So I used it.

Peeling paint from a palette is tricky, edges tear and stretch. Portions uncontrollably rip and can be replaced in combinations different than they were originally formed. As a result, the acrylic created something representing a cluster of continents floating upon the surface which it was applied.

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This particular palette comes from Yellow Hibiscus on Blue.

The Psychology of Memory, As I Remember It.

I have always been interested in psychology and fascinated with how a lump of curly tissue in our skulls can essentially make up our entire emotional and cognitive being. We as humans are outwardly associating with the world and others around us while internally reviewing information we gather, remembering tasks to complete and repeating songs simultaneously. Evoking what psychologist Edward Thorndike termed “decay theory” I have been using myself as a subject in experiments with memory through my abstract art.

What is Decay Theory?
Put simply, decay theory proposes that memory fades with time. Easy enough. But there is more to it: when we obtain new information it is lightly placed upon our minds as a neurochemical ‘memory trace.’ If the new information is rehearsed than it becomes a more solid memory and therefore more available for retrieval, if it is not rehearsed then it fades and is eventually forgotten. Alphanumeric series 17-36A. There is one inconsistency among researchers. They disagree whether memories fade with time, decay theory, or because we are constantly absorbing new information that interrupts our process of remembering; ‘interference theory.’

Without looking, can you recall the alphanumeric series I snuck into the text?
That’s interference theory.

How Does This Relate to My Artwork?
I study the physiology of a flower, often over the course of a week and than I put away all the information. A couple days later, I attempt to capture a likeness of the botanical in my studio. Because I work with the intention of allowing decay and interference to effect the painting, no outcome is incorrect. It really becomes the marriage of neuro-science and botany (with artistic liberties)… but more on that another time.

See my abstract work at www.sarinavillareal.com/abstract/