Artist and Series Statements

 

           The focus of my current work stems from my experiences as a clinical therapist working with clients at times of significant change in their lives.  Two bodies of work emerged as I explored my interest in human introspection as well as the use of intentional words: figures and birds.  I paint figures in solitary moments of contemplation and I often include objects that symbolize unseen results of their struggle.  My desire is to communicate how these moments of intense emotional tension can lead to spiritual redemption and hope.

 

            My interest in the human tendency to let words fly without intention has lead to my current bird series paintings. The bird paintings often contain words. Words that have at least two different possible meanings are written on tags that have been let go into the environment. A bird finds the words apart from any context and is unclear of their intention. As the viewer attempts to interpret the words, specific memories and associations are brought to mind. It is my goal that this process of questioning will allow the viewer to examine his or her own use of words. In other paintings, the bird represents freedom, human emotion and human responses to the world.

 

The background surfaces of my paintings are prepared over time by layering acrylic paint and then scraping and removing paint in areas and repeating the process with more paint and washes. By using acrylic paint and mixed media to develop layers of texture, I aim to evoke the passage of time, which is an essential element in emotional and spiritual growth. I am interested in conveying enough realism to communicate ideas but it is my intention to leave the viewer with an emotional, at times awkward sense that something is not quite finished. My goal is to highlight moments of introspection, both in the subject matter and in the viewer of the work in order to stir the connections between thought and emotion that lead to transformation.

 

 

For the Least of These Series Statement

My current For the Least of These series focuses on the needs of impoverished children around the world.  The limited color palette echoes the limits faced by children who are lacking basic needs like food, clean drinking water and security. Several of my paintings are done from photos taken by my friend and photographer Gary Gnidovic, who traveled to many countires as a photographer for a magazine. I am honored to work in collaboration with him, giving more light to the conditions some children face in parts of the world. Other paintings are done frommy own photos. 

 

By using acrylic paint to develop layers of texture, I aim to create a sense of emotional depth and evoke the passage of time.  The figures are in solitary moments of contemplation and I often include objects that symbolize the unseen results of their struggle. My desire is to draw the viewer into the needs of these children and question their own involvement in providing for or responding to “The Least of These.” 

 

 

 

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’"Matthew 25:35,36

 

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

© 2019 Mel Kistner Fine Art

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