Colour Me Chlorella
Algae paintings by Mel King
Opening: 8 – 11 PM, Friday March 23
Art show runs March 23 – April 7
What you see here is a collection of paintings I prefer to call dialogues. They are intimate conversations with my materials as I experience myself painting. Arising out of an obsession with chromatic black, algae, smoke, ash and crystals, my practice is very intuitive, frustrating yet fulfilling. My sensibilities rely heavily on direct experience and careful looking. I prefer to construct my own sort of texture by observing an object in space and allowing my memory to colour and distort the details rather than using photographic or printed material for inspiration. The suggestion of something that feels familiar yet remains unnameable intrigues me. My process begins with Chlorella — an ancient super algae that I came across in my quest to attain better health and overcome feelings of anxiety. Beginning as an early morning smoothie ritual, I decided that it might be an interesting pigment to play with. Because it is alive, the Chlorella inhabits the painting in its own organic way, dripping and pooling however it pleases. With each gesture, I respond to the previous one and so the painting emerges out of an interplay between me and the intelligence of my pigment. What began as a curiosity has now become a starting point for my creative process. Expanding beyond traditional painting materials, my toolbox has come to accommodate the use of algae, incense ash and even spring water.
I believe that it is the responsibility of the artist to shed light into the darkness of men's hearts. Our memories inform the way we interpret pictures. It is the viewer who completes the image, not the artist. The artist merely suggests. Even a suggestion can trigger something within us, perhaps even reminding us of something we once knew but have since forgotten. I believe that as an artist, I have become a conscious observer of myself in relation to my environment. I do not believe that humans exist in a vacuum. What we feel, see, hear and do collectively influences and affects each and every one of us; our body, mind and spirit are always communicating with our environment whether intentionally or not. I'm never really sure where I end and someone else begins. My materials are very important to me because they create a direct link to my artistic sensibilities and my imagination. I paint because it is the only time I really feel like myself. When I paint, I'm trying to make sense of my own experiences and what it means to be human. I never know what will happen in the studio. I enter my process with very few rules, if any at all. The painting starts as a sort of mindless, visceral experience and as time unfolds, the real work begins. BFA, graduated 2009, Emily Carr University.
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