Process

 

As an artist, I find sanctuary in the act of creation.  I am drawn to the process of a piece and the conversation that is initiated between the work and myself.  Relationships are a common theme in my work as I tackle the ideas of barriers, separation, human behavior, color and my own character.  I am drawn to capturing moments, and bringing the palette of life to the canvas. 
Recently, my work has dealt with layers.  These are layers of experience, layers of memories, emotion and how they affect us on a daily basis. 

12 - 20, An Adult at Rest  SOLD

The naturalist John Burroughs writes: “All life asks is opportunity; it takes its chances in the clash of opposing forces; it loses at one point and gains at another; the hazards of time and change modify it; hindering it or helping it, but do not extinguish it.”

 

Creation is a remarkable tool, which can be used to heal and to understand the deeper sea of our own minds. It is a place I find sanctuary, peace and reflection. My work has always been linked to this process that reflects on the emotional strains of life and the strings that connect us all – whether it is our blood lines, our past, our pain, or our joy. Through my own work I have addressed my own frailty and have challenged the viewer and myself by placing my own truths on the page.

 

This body of work was an attempt at coming to terms with my lung disease; I was  dependent on oxygen. Each one of these pieces are meant to capture the dynamic of one single breath. An adult at rest, sitting or sedentary, will take anywhere from 12 to 20 breaths a minute. These paintings are snapshots of what I imagine is involved in one breath. These abstract works show movement and colors eroding, they make visible the process of a thing washing away or settling in stillness. They help me to recognize the beauty in the unknown.

Dichotomy (2018) SOLD

Dichotomy examines daily experience and meaning through gestural works on paper. This past year was marked by a very deliberate routine that denied the flexibility to create works or make decisions based on personal trust, reflection and intuition. This exercise was a method for me to encourage a return to a more automatic manner of creating that relied on instinct and training. The works range from light and formal to darkly layered and atmospheric studies. The mark making, color and movement represent the dichotomy of the time lived and time considered. 

 

It is singular, a fingerprint or a made mark. It is a landscape separated from space but not immune to the forces that shaped it. It is a still life, flat and quiet and memorable. It is as simple as wanting two things to be different but recognizing that they begin to take the shape of the same word. 

Structural Findings (2016)

Structural Findings is a collection of mixed media works on paper that examine the new routines and patterns that materialize after a pivotal shift in one’s life. These artworks attempt to capture and reconcile the transformations that shifted in my role within society after becoming a mother. The works represent two intersecting and overlapping planes of disharmonic, ethereal space within the framework of an architectural place. 

The precise use of material and movement is meant to pair a confined, isolated space within a more expansive, atmospheric place. The resulting architectural landscapes depict a richly layered composition that invites the viewer to look within.

Figures SOLD

These works are created in one sitting looking at a live nude model. When working on these my focus is often in the weight of the object so the piece allows you to feel where the body sits in space.  I am drawn to leaving the image open and incomplete so as to allow your mind to fill in the remainder. 

Fruits of our Labor (2013-2014) SOLD

This body of work was meant to help me stay ever-present in thankfulness for our remarkable surrogate & to experience symbolic labor during our gestational surrogacy. As the subject of these paintings, I was especially drawn toward fruits, flowers & vegetables – imagining them as symbols of hope, growth, labor, harvest, bounty & thanksgiving.

Meat Market (2015) SOLD

As an extension of the series Fruits of our Labor I have started painting meats.  I love the translation of the meat as being the most filling main part of the meal and applying this to life as thinking of my plate being full.

Siblings (2014) SOLD

My artistic process has always harbored some of my deepest truths.  This particular Sibling series holds a theme that consistently shows up within my work: loss.  When I was seventeen I lost my brother to a sledding accident and working through my loss within my artwork I have found a significant amount of peace.

 

Each of the pieces within this body of work was created in one sitting with a black ballpoint pen.  A black pen is an unforgiving medium.  A medium that allows for no mistakes so each of my thoughts, movements, actions are all on display. Every mark made is permanent.

 

A loss of a sibling can leave you feeling like being an island by yourself.  I wanted this body to makes you pay attention to the absence, to the missing person and the disintegrating and fragile memories.

Waiting Room NFS

Since I was nineteen, I have been afflicted with dermatomyositis and interstitial lung disease more recently.  That means that I have been in a hospital waiting room countless times, a cold, sterile environment.

 

The process of being in a waiting room and going through the steps of a doctors visit are very removed from your everyday experience.  I wanted and needed a positive way to explore a constructive way to make a negative experience into a creative one. This body of work is that exploration.  Usually my work involves intentional mark making.  These pieces was taken on my iphone through an indirect mark making process and then manipulated within the phone or the machine. They are reflective of the waiting room experience and take on an ethereal replica of the space.  

Layers

The layers of sediment within rocks and minerals has always transfixed me.  The delicate lines and fractures created by years of pressure and layering.  It completes a perfect analogy for me of our life.

 

This body of work has been an exploration of that layering. What completes our life lines, our layering? How do our experiences shape us?  What is the sediment that we are filling up with, what exists in the cracks and the fractures?

Raleigh, North Carolina Artist

© Jean Gray Mohs Studio 2020

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