Introduction to Our Contributors’ Art
The art in our Summer 2014 edition vibrates with a bold use of color and a deliberate exploration of form. Hard and soft lines interact, negative space speaks volumes and inner secrets are hinted at – though not revealed – through a woman’s gaze. Oil painter Oriana Lewton-Leopold depicts women through the context of the intimate space of their bedrooms. Watercolorist Amy Robinson, meanwhile, explores portraiture through minimal lines and sparse environments that elicit confrontation. Collage artist Koka Filipovic layers found objects and cut paper in a process that is as meditative as the product. Sculptor Carole Murphy’s pieces reference life through curves and sculptural gesture despite their steel and cement construction. Our feature artist Roya Motamedi explores her world through color and shape, creating map-like layered paintings that lead the viewer down pathways both physical and cerebral. I find myself wanting to look closer and dig deeper into each work.
Featured Art by Roya Motamedi
Looking at an oil painting by Portland artist Roya Motamedi is rather like viewing the earth from above. The colorful fields are reminiscent of distorted city blocks or, perhaps, farm plots as seen from a plane. Squares and rectangles with soft, curvilinear edges create inviting compositions; they are Piet Mondrians with organic palettes, sans harsh lines. The eye is beckoned to take the next corner, to meander. While they are not literal maps, one gains a sense of time and place from Roya’s paintings, as well one should: Much of Roya’s work – and all of the pieces in this issue of VoiceCatcher – are based on different cities and villages in which the artist has lived.
With a childhood spent in Afghanistan, school years in Japan, and time in Mexico, New York, and now Portland, Roya has been shaped by many different spaces. “I paint across my languages and cultures and the paradigms to which I am bound,” she says. Through color and form, Roya wordlessly describes her impressions of place.
Space and life “become shape,” she explains about her thought process while referencing her series of paintings entitled Ajijic. “I see my painting as a letter, a letter to a friend, my father,” she continues. “Ajijic is the place we lived in Mexico. My painting weaves the sun of Mexico, the dusty road where dogs nap and donkeys work.”
Roya describes “daily color, light” and, perhaps most importantly, “emotions” as her inspiration. Roya does not paint place with the eye of an objective cartographer, but with the heart of a diary-keeper. Her personal experience is imbued in her work.
When framing her work, Roya often attaches her paintings to frames in a strong but removable way using small magnets. The purchaser, therefore, is encouraged to reorient and reframe the work as she likes. In this way, Roya offers a democratic solution to the old cliché about abstract paintings (“Which way is up?”) and allows a personalized viewing experience. The viewer participates by making looking, seeing and experiencing art an active role.
Roya is currently represented by Blackfish Gallery in Portland.
Guest Art Editor
(Click on each thumbnail to see a larger image and learn about each piece.)