"Painting feels as natural to me as breathing. By allowing the light to determine the composition, the sense of space can be ethereal, airy, and soft. Even though I use a simplistic subject matter and color palette, the ideas and spaces are complex and deep.”
Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Andrea received formal art training at LSU, Kansas City Art Institute, the University of Texas at Austin and the SACI program in Florence, Italy. After a 20 year career in artist materials, she continues the exploration of materials through her experimental and abstract work in mixed media. Home is in Austin, Texas, the one place that nurtures her holistic and universal approach to making art.
I have always dealt with issues of fragility, weakness and decay, but as I look deeper, this work is becoming more about overcoming these challenges in terms of physical, psychological, environmental, social or in other words, the human condition from a feminine perspective. Going even further, these messages can be understood at a deeper level encompassing the earth, cosmos and spiritual world as well. There is a consistent thread of interconnectedness that runs through each work, happening spontaneously without forcing it during the painting process. Possibly, it’s a message from the subconscious realm.
The introspective visual language I’m developing stems from my own life and art experiences, but the messages of interconnectedness I am discovering in the process relate on a fundamental level to others, making my personal story less important as it relates to the picture itself. This allows for a more fulfilling interaction for others with the work and makes it less about me; I can just be the conduit. I love the act of painting; what the painting is about seems less significant or at least, less specific and more natural, like breathing instead of seeing.
I find intrigue in making symbolic visual connections between the natural world and universal human conditions whether it’s physical, spiritual or emotional; a mountain that takes flight like an eagle, for example. Something immense and heavy becomes weightless and finds escape and perseveres through adversity. This use of metaphor is not new and can be found in the work of Remedios Varo, one of the few women artists to be labeled a surrealist.
I would like to think my process is about chance and letting that happen, but I know better. I do things with paint you generally should not do and I exert quite an amount of control over it, more so than I probably should. While I allow certain chance encounters to happen, I am very much looking for a story to unveil, shapes to form and sculpt just like looking at the moon to find the rabbit. I do think that is something everyone does, part of human nature and how our minds work. Historically, it’s a device artists have used for hundreds if not thousands of years. My process does take a long time, and arriving at imagery can be slow-going, with lots of adding, subtracting and interplay; it’s a lot more like drawing.
Sometimes, I harness the power of the natural elements to age, transform and alter the work until I decide on the right time to “stop process”. The environment then becomes one of my mediums, also reflecting the idea of change, transformation and decay. And, some of the materials I use are unconventional or temporary, which reflects the underlying ideas of fragility and ephemerality. However, I protect the pictures using archival processes so that they will last indefinitely. The initial sentiment is still preserved, kind of like a butterfly that has a limited lifespan, but can be stored forever.
These are my pictures, thanks for spending some time with them today. I welcome your feedback and comments. Have a blessed day.