“ I am trying to find something out there beyond the place where I have footing” 

Albert Pinkham Ryder

 

My work has a cohesive thread which circles particular concepts, processes, materials and meaning. Each new project is a facet of an ongoing inquiry operating at the nexus of art, craft, culture, and the interior world filtered through my relationship with place, process, and space. I seek to mine connections between the external world and my interior wanderings through the metaphor of the artist as explorer.  My most recent work examines what it means to press beyond the limitations of conscious experience and familiar patterns.  This work has evolved from a particularly fertile moment in my imagination and connects to my interest in expressing a contemporary take on the Sublime. The notion of Sublime concerns the theory of the dual forces of horror and beauty. The Sublime encompasses both fear and exaltation and expresses the conflicting dynamics of uncertainty, vastness, solitude, pain, and infinity. The artist confronts all these conditions in her attempt to find her authentic voice. 

 

This notion of sublime describes my striving to arrive at a place where I am completely satisfied with my work.  But, like a restless traveler, there is always more to explore and I am constantly pushing beyond what I know. In 2015, I embarked on a series of watercolor paintings and sculpture that used the Mars rover as a metaphor for artistic exploration. The paintings became a series called "Curiosity" taken from the name of the Martian rover. I was drawn to the rover because it is named “Curiosity” and I believe that being curious is an essential element of being an artist. The watercolors appear like otherworldly landscapes that use visual voids and veils to represent sites of artistic ferment and imagination. The sculpture represents vessels or ships and, like the rover, the crudeness of their structures belies the sophistication essential for exploration of unknown terrain.

 

My most recent series are named “Making Contact” , "Approach", and "GEM" (2016-2020) and contains the subcategories of  “The Astronaut,” “Time Travel,” and “Solaris after Andrei Tarkovsky.” I begin by painting layers of inchoate washes on paper that mirror my own condition of searching. I use spray paint in order to introduce a sense of space. Enlarged and abstracted silk-screened diamonds and planets are added to impose order and a sense of connection. Diamonds represent carbon, a mineral that, through their interconnectivity, is the basis for all life, thereby connecting us to the larger universe. The Astronauts in my work represent my own condition of moving through space and time.

 

To balance on one leg you cannot stay still.  The body shifts weight in an effort not to topple. Individual muscles work in opposition to each other to adjust and find equilibrium. It’s a dynamic moment where the posture renews itself through time and space. As I move through my process, I occupy a space wherein I draw from the past while venturing into the unknown future. My hope is that my work exists at the interstice of past and future, wherein constant renewal takes place.

2018 Francesca Pastine

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