Painting, when considered as a raw living material, is able to embrace the mystical and ordinary forces of inexhaustible possibility. This makes it possible, if necessary, for all expectations from previous experiences to fall apart. Within what can be a tireless and multi-dimensional field, the painting becomes inseparable from the observer. The necessary self-examination which allows us to activate such energy helps us realize that no detail can ever be assumed to be unimportant.
Through creating and refining inner colors I find myself continuously more open to the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual awareness necessary to visualize and form the imagery of my painting. The many experiences of my personal life received through beliefs, opinions, and interpretations can then be filtered and transformed into a coded and symbolic language that is both abstract and concrete.
This process of simplification is often received by my conscious self through a chant, a prayer, a dance, a song, a symphony, a smell, a story, a poem, free association thinking, lovemaking, gazing, etc. These are not nouns but rather they are actions, often acted out in my imagination. This is the means by which I contact the depth of my inner world. In these ways I privately participate in my knowledge of what I know (including my ignorance) so as to make my outer world experiences valuable. Through painting my inner and outer world synergize so as to manifest a more accurate view of the color of form.
Intuition, instincts, and often independent thoughts synergize with other attracted energies to recall without effort, on my part, a means of offering clarity to realize and accept all kinds of situations and if needed, possible solutions to negatives. Although not absolute nor necessarily ideal, this process does create the means to reconsider actions.
Currently, I am working on paintings inspired by the historical/cultural traditions of animals in southern plains Indian cosmologies. The paintings are not intended to be an illustration of either academic study or tribal practices. I want to give a “close-up look” at the spiritual; power of the animals here as they are imperiled by the impact of human activity. The native approach to these animals teaches ways to be in these spiritual beings to increase and expand the multiplicity of our identity through exchange. In contrast, popular culture denies these animals by reducing them to a dimension that can only serve the needs of humans.
There are many things in current native cultural terms that are of great importance. They are complex and cannot be played with as simple. It is not the words, concepts, or objects that make these cultural actions so different; the revealing is done as and when it can be effective. Only in this way can they operate at full capacity. In this way non-interfering and accepting relationships can be established between humans and other species. All efforts to resist dominance are important to human rights critiques as well, allowing for all our relationships to become a reflection of self-observation.
Having my conscience and consciousness rooted in this western land base, I was taught to listen for and observe the constants and particulars of nature here, as well as the social and political patterns of both Indians and non-Indians. This space is my home – from this environment I record and invent changes through paintings which relate to, involve, and influence it, but which cannot necessarily be defined as they are “in the moment” of recognition within the viewer.
This examination can take seconds, days, or decades, as the painting is a raw, living material. When accepted on its own terms as an entity it can be nurtured and used so as it’s more subtle and hence, greater probabilities can be revealed – a sharing with another’s vision. Although vision predicts more than is really understood it gives us the opportunity to observe the intuitive workings of the sacred effects of the world through signs that bring into meaning for human life. In this way a personal vision is decoded to help with “remembering to remember” the necessity to use daily activities to integrate and encourage social evolution in balance with physical law.
© Kay Miller