E.B. is a California-based artist who is inspired by Renaissance masters like Michelangelo (1475-1564) and by living Italian abstract artists like Marisa Merz (born 1926). She loves not only their bodies of work but also their willingness to wrestle with bringing their ideas into being. E.B. commented that she is impressed with “their innovation, bravery and dedication to their vision.”
When asked about her artistic practice, E.B. said that she begins most of her paintings by clearing her mind and silencing her thoughts. She doesn’t do preparatory drawings, she goes straight to canvas and allows the brush to go wherever it wants. “Sometimes I’m drawn to colors that reflect my subconscious mood.”
E.B. considers herself to be a mixed media artist. She told me, “I had to expand my abilities and make myself perform actions and motions during creation that didn’t come naturally. For me, confronting discomfort in art results in a greater understanding and depth.”
As I studied the four pieces featured here, I saw at first an engagement with spirituality that is apparent in the watery misty vagueness of the images. As I contemplate them further I sense an air of discomfort, a desire to escape categorization. There is a beauty and emotion in these paintings that is captivating. E.B.’s paintings are like her: they tell you a little, but leave you hungry for more.
“Frisco Fog” renders the Golden Gate Bridge in a blue mist with lights guiding us towards it.
The bridge, symbolic of the process of change, appears and disappears in the dragged blues and deep magenta hues. The monument is transformed from an engineering marvel into a mysterious structure, compelling but almost inaccessible - an important painting in E.B.’s oeuvre.
E.B. painted “The Star” on the occasion of her niece’s first birthday. E.B. saw the child’s birth as a great gift. She said, “My heart exploded” and the star in the painting is rendered as an explosion of yellow light that shines in a swirling firmament of red, purple and orange brushstrokes, flicked up and down in a kind of ecstatic motion.
“Rise of the Golden State” is an abstract piece featuring some clear blocks of color in a distant setting surrounded by vaguer, more generalized muted and graded colors. For me the meaning of this piece is like the bridge piece. E.B. focuses the viewer on the idea of movement and change.
The fourth piece “Room with a View – Stockton, Ca.” is a more representational piece that focuses on California’s landscape – a view of the sunrise in the horizon of the central valley. E.B. has immersed herself in the art of the Italian Renaissance and has engaged in a personal struggle with her art with the hopes of adding beauty to this darkened world. All this is evident in the work. I look forward to seeing the focus of her next series.
Terry Phimister is an artist and writer. She is the art editor of the California Edition.