Lori mcmahon - artist statement
Through painting I have found something that I did not know I was looking for –what is in my mind and my soul – as an expression of my environment.
As a painter, I am inspired by the natural world. My work explores the boundaries between perception and cognition and the evocative relationship that develops between people and place. I continually re-orient my direction moving away from pictorial, recognizable imagery, toward a place of increased abstraction.
This phenomena is often referred to as “finding one’s voice,” but in reality, the act of creating involves so much more. The rewards are significant and the act of visually ‘publishing’ is at once energizing and crushing. Through study, reflection, and intuition the content of each painting or series pulls from my own idiosyncratic experiences.
My work ranges in scale from the very small to expansive canvases that measure over six feet high and twelve feet long. When I conceive and develop the small works I envision them as wall- or building-sized murals with the potential to embrace and challenge the viewer’s scale of thought and emotion.
It is this range between the intimate and the immense, the subtle and the obvious, the illusory and the truth, that is worthy of exploration. I do so by concentrating on light and matter in the physical environment. I look into a space to find a rhythmic structure specific to the site characteristics. I absorb the richness it has to offer and then abstract it to qualitatively express the spaces we occupy: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Some of my works are highly gestural with active surfaces – an approach favored by many Abstract Expressionist forbearers whom I admire such as deKooning, Kline and Kandinsky. I resist painting what are easily recollected forms of nature and contemplate the dynamic forces of nature instead.
Other works reveal my recurring study of Matisse and Miro. These works, small and large, are defined by crisp, contemporary compositions that ‘lock’ the energy of natural forms, taking away what is ‘familiar’ and re-presenting it for consideration as a new aesthetic experience. This is accomplished through the arrangement of complex rhythms of reduced organic forms with edges as sharp as cut paper and the use of sophisticated modern color play.
The fuller painting experience is a genuine test of my own degrees of learning. More importantly it is a test of my willingness to un-learn what I think I know and can do. I can then approach a work as if it is a new venture ripe for the resolution of conceptual and technical unknowns. It is through this Yin and Yang – this exploration and balance of opposite forces expressed through my painting — that I discover mystery and meaning.