"REEF," SHELLY HEHENBERGER
My work is a meditation on the patterns of nature explored through the process of drawing and painting. The patterning and imagery I use suggest the natural world and its state of constant change, especially within the realm of growing things.
I use many, non-traditional tools for applying layers of my carefully selected mixtures to create the topography of the surface. I also use them to scrape and excavate down into the layers to reveal what is beneath. Is is through this continuous additive and subtractive process that I create my surfaces slowly over the course of many months. This continuous layering and removing of the materials reflects a sense of the constructive (cosmos) and deconstructive (chaos) energies that exists at all levels of nature, revealing an essential balance of the creative tension that exists between the two.
Wherever I experience the variations of nature and its processes, I pay close attention to the diversity and complexity of the forms and structures. Every possibility exists here, yet new ones are constantly emerging in the ever-changing combinations of the simplest of elements such as carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. I strive to make my own process about this same kind of discovery, stretching to encompass every potential of what I can do with the medium. Paint, wax, sand, chalk, graphite, resin; the combinations seem endless. I find it exciting to think that perhaps there is no limit but only a continuous pushing outward into a new array of possibility.
Paul Klee said “The true artist does not work from nature, but like her and in her.” In the same way, I let my way of working be like the nature that inspires me. I savor the journey of making as an end in itself, and in the process come to know myself better through gaining a deeper understanding of the natural world of which I am an inseparable part.
“Let the beauty we love be what we do.” -Rumi