Most of the images in these paintings derive from postures of classical Indian dance, which in turn are derived from ancient sculptures and reliefs. I am drawn to Asian archetypes because they are direct personifications of internal energy and states of mind, yet I do not use imagery directly associated with a particular culture, age, or myth. I prefer to consider the mythological narrative as experienced by the individual.
In these paintings, the human figure is the focus, but is not separate from its surroundings. Nature moves within and without the figure, whose solidity is questionable and relative. In symbolic terms, the ground represents “horizontal” consciousness – moving through sequential time of past, present, and future. The figure is the “vertical” stopping of that process. The tension that occurs between figure and ground is symbolic of the heroic quest for transcendence, played out at every moment in the arena of the mind.
Internal sensations that arise while immersed in the painting process are the impulses driving the work. The mind is not absent, but is corollary to the momentum. The painting process moves between visualizing an image and watching it appear. Thoughts of impossible challenges and feelings of surrender to inevitable failure overtake me. There is no way I can control, or create, anything - the best I can do is to allow things to happen. Yet, when Kali's sword adds another ego to her garland, there is exhilarating freedom, expansion, and joy.
The mythic is a structure, a blueprint, of how to live. Everything that takes place within a mythic story happens inside each individual. Outwardly we are time-bound forms, but inwardly we can experience infinity. We perceive our mortality and the limits of our knowledge; at the same time, a greater awareness exists. The mythic lives in images and stories that reconcile the apparent contradiction between limitless mind and finite physical body.
Pamela Avril, 2013