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“Nature always wears the colour of the spirit”, Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Artist Shirley Mathews captures these colours wonderfully in her latest series, “An Ode to Nature”
Ode to Nature
The painting reminds one of a tropical landscape, lush with greenery everywhere. The painting reminds the viewer of thick foliage with specks of orange bark. As the name of the painting suggests, it is lyrical and rich in its visual language. The painting sings to the beauty of nature and its essence that is deep and meaningful.
Search for Truth
The artwork is beautifully layered and reminds a viewer of something familiar, like a place, or a memory. It seems abandoned and lonely, ready to be found and celebrated. The use of black and white further intensifies this feeling. The use of white revels hopes and meaning. The organic and the inorganic are exquisitely juxtaposed to make meaning. The artwork is flecked by the sunlight.
The artwork is aptly named spiritual connect. Big lotuses that seem to be emulating radiant energy that is reaching the universe is something one can instantly connect within this artwork. The medium used furthers the ethereal quality of this painting. The clouds and the rain seem to be calling out to the lotuses to reach out to them to form a wondrous divine union of the intangible forces that exist in nature.
Abhisheka is a Sanskrit term akin to puja, yagya and arati that denotes: a devotional activity; an enacted prayer, rite of passage and/or religious rite – this is the most common definition of this term. Abhisheka, as the artist calls this expression validates this characterisation. The act of creating this artwork can be understood as a devotional act by the artist; devotion to the medium, subject, internal and external beliefs etc. In the artwork, the artist seems to be washing away something that’s old and thus making a way for the new. Hence the name of the artwork fits comfortably especially when one sees it as a rite of passage.
Dance of Ecstasy
The name is lyrical like the strokes in this painting. The artist has created movement with the brush strokes going back and forth in a rhythm created by the colours blending on the canvas to create this expression. It’s bold, evocative and raw. The artwork keeps the audience engaged. The shades of cadmium look like flowing fabric of dancers in the middle of a green foliage. The dancer seems to blend and become one with background thus creating a spiritual connection, which coincides well the artist theme for this series.
One can easily connect with the name and the artwork. It seems personal yet inclusive of the audience. Is it the artist’s awakening? Or the audience or the mankind itself? The ray of light gives hope to anyone seeking to be awakened from the slumber. The glimmer, although right in the front seems to be hidden in plain view. Find nature and one can easily find their path to consciousness.
The artwork has a dark and moist undertone to it. It reminds one of a dark cloudy day. The rain playing hide and seek; threatening to pour down on the haphazardly strung together pieces of fabric. Each holding its own, yet connected as they carry different wishes, all silent yet yearning to be fulfilled. All this being watched by the iridescent sun, giving just the right flicker of hope that all wishes will eventually come true!
The work is like a well-choreographed piece by a fluid dancer. It is busy, colourful and full of life. It’s a stunning cocktail of colour, eccentric costumes and movements.