What motivates me to paint? How would I define my painting?
My experience of the sacred is what stirs me to action. The order in which I do things, the relationship between the elements that surround me, both visible and invisible. The awareness that I cultivate in the practise of painting is an entity unto itself; in the same way that someone might practise a martial art, my painting is the visual image of this practise. Here I am referring to an active spiritual life, a state of being that I have always sought. My marks are drawn free-hand and find their momentum in the confidence I have in my secret relationship with life.
My painting is a sacred practise that stems from a meditative state of mind, from active meditation. The black and white paintings accurately translate this state of wakeful dreaming, this “unreal world.”
Harmony comes together and takes shape in the space of an intimate moment spent with the unknown. Space-time factors are critical: they highlight the empty and the full, the substance involved goes far beyond the visible material.
I have always used this method of creation, with glass as well as with paint. These are mature actions, free-hand strokes, pure intentions. What better approach is there but to remain calm when dealing with existential questions? There is often an obsessive need to know everything, to know why… to understand everything, even with respect to an image. My approach subdues all attempts of the human kind and engenders a less certain but much clearer attitude in relationship to everything.
In my glass artworks, the glass represents the same substance, art, but the allure of the material (almost immaterial, neither liquid nor solid) can easily hide its spiritual value.
We as observers are fascinated by the material, and our reflection on the artwork is altered because the visual element is so strong. In somewhat the same way that the human’s physical being has its visible and invisible dimensions, so glass has an invisible aspect that intrigues us even though it is the visual that captivates at first glance… The writing here is a springboard for describing a certain state of wonder. For me, painting is an ocean on which I surf, meditation being the seabed on which I rest to better represent the feeling of living out of the water.
This explains my affinity for the Japanese paper that I paint on; the paper greatly contributes to the work but the material itself is discrete, even minimal, with respect to the visual impact of the whole. A high-quality paper fosters the meditative experience when it materializes, the painting is laid in and takes its form naturally with the movements of the brush.
On the rational and relational level, I practise Feng Shui and Chinese astrology to master the notions of harmony based on the elements and to have a better experience of my connection with life in my human and physical environment.
In a unified field of consciousness, my life is a meditation, a oneness that cannot really be explained but can only be experienced. To better understand, imagine for a moment that the creator withdraws from creation, that creation per se stands at the foothills of the spirit, creation reflecting upon itself…
Life is physical, sometimes visible, sometimes invisible… this is the most concrete way I have found to describe the calmness that I paint.
My paintings are alive, more vivid than memory. My paintings are akin to those of the abstract expressionists and minimalists; they are inspired by the impetus of the automatists and that of all the Far and Middle East’s ancient traditions, especially the arts of calligraphy, scrolls or hieroglyphs. It is a form of applied consciousness.
Francesca Alepin Kneider