I am in love with color and form. I use them to create work that is about introspection. Meditation is in the process and the product encourages the viewer to be in the present moment. I explore narratives through symbols and archetypes, like nature, birds, flowers, mandalas, and the female figure. The stories allude to a memory or a dream, the past and present emotions.
Often times I incorporate text as a pictorial/formal element that sometimes clarifies or convolutes the narrative. Text is both a visual element and an information tool. Abstracted color and natural forms are overlaid with text, collage material and encaustic wax painting.
Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves the use of heated beeswax to which colored pigments and damar resin are added. The word Encaustic, from ancient Greece, means “to burn” or “to heat”. Each painted layer is fused to the previous layer in order to create a solid piece that becomes the encaustic painting. I utilize encaustic in my mixed media pieces, both for it’s translucent affects and for it’s adhesive and archival qualities.
This approach to working in mixed media lends itself to creating a visceral world made with multiple layers, an approach that imbues the work with meaning. This layering process acts as a metaphor for the layering of the soul, the depth of the unconscious which is the well from which my imagery is extracted.
When I’m not working in Mixed Media; my other preferred Media is Watercolor. The unpredictability of the watercolor works well with the minds free associations. My watercolor abstractions are like ocean waves dark with psychological depth and ephemeral like the existence of a wave. I long to capture that quiet beauty found in nature, and amplify the spiritual connection it so reflects.
As an Orthodox Christian born in Egypt, and as an American, two main figures influence my work; that of the American artist Georgia O’Keefe and the Egyptian father of monasticism, St. Anthony the Great. I especially admire the quiet solitude which both of these figures spent their lives trying to capture. I believe Georgia O’Keefe couldn’t have brought the world’s attention to seemingly insignificant natural imagery, giving presence to bones, flowers and clouds, without her quiet solitude in the New Mexico desert. This quiet solitude can take one to a desert within, much like the desert of Egypt, where the first monastic, St. Anthony the Great set foot to venture the same internal terrain. There he discovered light and dark, deceptions and truth and struggled to hold onto the light and truth. The inner desert is full of rich unconscious imagery that I’m excited to elucidate everyday. One can easily recognize how this quest is lifelong.
An artist’s words are always to be taken cautiously. The finished work is often a stranger to, and sometimes very much at odds with what the artist felt or wished to express when he began. …. The artist who discusses the so-called meaning of his work is usually describing a literary side-issue. The core of his original impulse is to be found, if at all, in the work itself. – Louise Bourgeois