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In search of the spiritual...

 

 

My work is born from the history of painting as a turbulent, revolutionary, and romantic leap of light and color made by the fathers of abstraction. From Van Gogh, Blake and Turner, to Shiraga and Still, there has been a secret history of artists- a shamanic embodiment of the artist in their art.  This hidden history of art, with metaphysical reach and esoteric search is linked by its desire to capture the exquisite nature of 'Epiphany'- both fleeting and timeless.

There has been 'a Great Divide' between Eastern and Western philosophy, reflected in the history of image making. Eastern mandalas, do not have the same cultural implicitness in the West, yet still, there is a desire to portray the world and ourselves in some form of collective spiritual codex. But what is unique to us western people without having to derive from other traditions, to speak of the nameless? The Western pursuit of 'having' and the Eastern constitution of 'being' present divergences in what we see and understand as 'Process' and 'Art'. My work looks at philosophy in practice as an explorative state, a bridge between 'flow and force'.

Some religions forbid the presentation of iconography in art forms- as to make finite the infinite and honor that object as a personification of the Supreme is to dishonor the higher nature of life. Yet, there are still formless forms, languages of color and texture that speak volumes about the natural worlds of Earth and Space, our place within it, the alchemical nature of existence, and the higher force that perpetuates the endless cycle of life.

I am creating in this no man's land between object and form, god and life, mind and matter.  Drawing from the time honored delicacy of Eastern traditions - from Raku to the masonic arts of Egyptian and Italian fresco, and the robust individuality of modern abstraction that embodies the innate entropy of American culture, landscape and contemporary systems of belief.  Exploring the organic and observing what emerges from the formless, the materials of transformation and decay take on the concretized form of painting object, to capture the ethereal, elemental and seemingly ephemeral atmospheric states in and around us.  The painting becomes a reflection/ object/ work of art -a recorded moment of space beyond place and time,  remnant and spiritual memory of contemporary consciousness.

Paul Seftel