Aaaaah Patrica Ariel! Sometimes it feels like she is painting directly from my dreams. Alchemy of Coexistence is one of Patricia's latest paintings created for the Hidden Kingdoms exhibition that also featured another dear friend, Alice Savage. I love so many of Patricia's paintings but something about this new work is so enchanting to me. In fact, whenever I see this painting I have to stop. I have to take it in all over again. And then it does a strange symbiotic balance within me as I sit in front of it. The balance of the antlers and the datura flowers and the sweetest expression in the women's closed eyes and soft mouths... it's such a mystery isn't it?
Next month I will talk with Patricia for a new series of interviews about artisans who consciously create with the sacred and with intention. Another reason I'm so in awe of Patricia's artistry is that not only does she have an incredible ability to paint what she sees in her visions she also has the gift of weaving with words and when she writes about her work and inspiration she does it in such a fascinating way that she doesn't 'solve' the riddle of her creations but helps you to navigate and journey deeper into their dreaming - or the rabbit-hole! I think Alchemy of Coexistence is a perfect entrance into this mystery.
"My "hidden kingdoms" are inhabited by characters that take the shape of an archetypal and spiritual analysis of my own personal experiences, and how their understanding can reflect on the outer world. At the time I started the piece I was somewhat immersed in reflections about my own duality, and thinking about how the experiences that take me to darker and more silent places end up nourishing my so called “positive” side, creating almost a third entity. This “inner alchemy” I experience so vividly constantly reminds me of the Jungian concept of shadow integration: two polarities – conscious/unconscious, light and shadow, day and night, masculine and feminine – coexisting in perfect cooperation. I decided to explore it revisiting the image of the “twins”, each wearing a different headpiece that are not simply placed upon their heads, but that are almost part of their own bodies. The headpieces, shaped on the form of deer heads, an animal that symbolizes gentleness and regeneration, are clearly representing the dichotomy life/death, that here are not literal symbols, but archetypes of “darkness” and “light” - unconscious and conscious. The figures are surrounded by datura flowers, seen as a sacred plant by Native Americans as having the power to make the living to communicate with the spirits of the dead, which I found a perfect metaphor to the concept, as well as a good representation of the “flourishing” of the consciousness due to this integration."
Patricia Ariel http://art.patricia-ariel.com
ORIGINAL AVAILABLE AT THE DREAM FACTORY GALLERY