Art Process

I paint with materials and techniques used before paint went in tubes and on canvas. I write with a fountain pen on blank notebooks that I had made in Paris.Arveil_PortraitWriter_Boston_2011 Those choices are not limiting or sophisticated: they mean freedom. I travel light, work unplugged and free from market politics. They also mean intensity: ground pigment hues are fierce, the script running on paper, emotionally powerful.

It has been a journey through time and cultures to recognize my own voice: from spending time in a painted cave with a scientific team, I had understood that painting has never been primitive: complex visual and emotional transcription is integral to it from the start. With insatiable curiosity for understanding how people in their different cultures and stories “see”, I wonder how images happen. What are the underlying roots of art making?

I guess one could say that I am interested in processes. Arveil_PortraitStudio_Charlestown_2009_4I have worked with different materials that have in common their elaboration steps: building a ground, layering transparent colors, “carving” an image into this micron-thin, illusory space.
I need the physical contact to the material, the touch, the rubbing and building, to feel connected with my stories and images. For me, the imaginary is in fluid contact with reality. Fictional characters are present in the world: we live alongside Ulysses and Hobbits. Fiction is reliable and permanent, comfortable; it discretely completes us with dreamed personas.

Trusting my own mind, I crossed the threshold to build a dialogue with the past, the distant and the imaginary. I have great curiosity for what appears on the surface. Always surprising! I use rock-solid materials, simple and real that are, I guess, my reference point: wood, school pencil, honey, natural resins, pigments. Supplies accessible to anyone, sometimes found materials. My physical limitations set the limit: what I can lift, reach, understand. Yet, I walked to the edge with the Volcano Project that left me in exhaustion for four years. But the experience was worth it!

Art history is tied with upper-class wealth and the fantasy of needy artists. As an originally starving artist, I proudly rejected getting in debt. Dignity stands high in my scale of values. Painting supplies elevate when, in front of an egg, you decide if you are going to eat it or paint with it. I compromised, figuring through public archives and experiments how medieval painting could go a whole day with a portion of an egg and flakes of colored dust. My paintings and I lived at the same table, a radical experience that gave me a specific take on minimalism.

Arveil_PortraitStudio_Charlestown_2009_1Around that time, to prevent destruction of my pieces judged as “unacceptable imagery and colors”, I limited myself for several years to using only black ink. The beauty and peace of stone grinding an ink that perfectly reflects shades and colors, revealed once more how each color contains all colors, which I later demonstrated with red, in the Volcano. Yet another urge for exploration came from lacking art school background. I put stakes high when I built a self-taught curriculum, searching for objective knowledge in art. I devoted years at a time to immerge into lacquer, illumination, brush calligraphy, exploring how different cultures actually create an image. Time and focus are essential.

When one pays attention to a fragment, be it from reality or a vision, it unfolds in infinite fractal complexity. I have now been drawing one small basalt stone since 2009: its representation will never be complete. It is hallucinatory. This is realism and abstraction altogether. And this is beyond art theory: without art making, my life radically stops, freezing in one suffocating place.

The Volcano provides a framework for this creative process: it explores and transcribes the full emotional gamut, from fear, anger and rage to hope, tranquility, even redemption.
Water Lines Artist Book -using vocabulary and syntax in a manner similar to brush strokes, it minutely mirrors the artistic quest and fictional[ change. see Volcano Fault text, same.] lives that take form in the water photographies of artist Sal Lopes.
The Installations.