Thoughts - Rita Baragona

Thoughts

Video Interview

In my most recent paintings and drawings, I explore the role my eye’s mind plays in forming my perception. The eye’s mind transforms impulses into mass, light into color, movement into form, and time into visual space. As I paint, my eyes traverse constantly changing configurations over time, while my mind coalesces these sensations into patterns of flower, tree, ocean, and the space which they inhabit. As I look at nature, rhythmic flux changes my perception. I am conscious of rhythmic flow as my eye pays attention to unexpected and felt moments. I have become more sensitive to seeing change, particularly in my ocean paintings, which come closest to describing the self-similar iterations in nature that have always fascinated me. I try to fill my paintings with luminous color, energized by linear rhythmic notations. There is a sensual joy in finding harmony. Everything is in flux in nature, but can be stilled by the eye’s mind.


The Closer I Look

The closer I look the more I see organic complex patterns in nature.

The closer I look the more I see change.

The closer I look the more matter becomes informed energy.

The closer I look the more I sense poetry within surface reality.

The closer I look the more I intuit the infinite in the momentary.

The closer I look the more I am one with what I look at.

I always begin by painting directly from nature. Although I am totally immersed in perception, my process encompasses many responses. I will work from nature as long as the subject is alive and I am present. After that I work on some paintings over time. This allows visual information to coalesce into a more complete whole. Some paintings are quick love affairs and others long-term relationships, like marriage, growing in depth with successive layers of understanding. I keep sketchbooks filled with painting and thoughts. Although subjective sensation directs my seeing, I believe I am painting exactly what I see.

By filling my paintings with luminous colors and rhythmic strokes, I hope to surround the viewer with a sensation and reflection of inner joy. Underlying the imagery of my paintings is a felt connection with and a curiosity about tangible patterns of energy found within matter’s solidity. Painting is both the way I sense nature intuitively, and my attempt at a visual language congruent with ideas like Einstein’s matter = energy and the relationship of light color to pigment color.

My first love is color. Luminous color comes from seeing the relationship of light and pigment color. Each color has a luminance (light emitted from a color) created by both its intensity and value according to its inherent see-ability. By energizing the color mass with rhythmic edges, I try to make the colors resonate with spectral energy. I feel closest to the sensation of light when pigment color is full of over-all light. Color, once thought of as abstract, becomes real and accurate by looking at it with a different mind set.

I revel in painting ever-changing structures in space and in full sunlight. As I look closely at nature, I notice that underlying organic structure is a fractal one, based on self-similarity on different scales, and complexity. I use rhythmic, irregular marks to show this natural structure, as well as change in time. Mass can stay the same size, while the edge gets more convoluted. Fractal order crumples space ever so small, or fills it up in scale. Flowers unfold slowly, so slowly that, as I look at them time expands. I have to be very quiet to see the intertwined interior petals at the heart grow as petals on the edge dance. Water, on the other hand, moves dynamically. The energy is overwhelming, repetitive and in constant flux. The patterns vary, yet I sense an order in the midst of turmoil, which changes space/time. Can I draw this as well as I envision? No, but I can aspire to it.

I believe that personal and cultural perception is informed and changed by knowledge. From outside interests like neurobiology, physics, (for laymen) and philosophy, I am gathering new insights, which I record in my sketchbooks. I believe that these ideas change how I interpret my sensations when I paint. The act of painting from observation is very complicated. It is not enough to be an eye. The eye only gathers sensations, which the mind codifies. Add emotions to the mix, and who knows what we actually see or have the possibility to see anew.

For me, I see constantly changing light patterns and erratic movement. Sometimes my drawings look scribbled, as my hand records my eye movement. My perception is a complex interweaving of outer looking, objective knowledge, inner feeling and intuition.

At the heart of my art is an awareness of the spiritual timelessness dancing within constant change. Flowers are beautiful and also short-lived. Ocean waves tumble so fast. No matter what I look at, my connection with nature is being fed, fueling further visual sensing, loving and understanding. It is a delight for me to be fully present painting from nature.


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