Saori Russell Fine Art
International Art Consultant & Public Art Advisor
My relationship to art is about transformation. I grew up in the mid-west with lots of space around me. From that experience I was very aware of a great sense of dimension and mystery. In more recent years, in my everyday life of walking here and there, I am often drawn to weathered and worn surfaces. For me, these seasoned surfaces symbolize evolving consciousness, the peeling away of layers of obstacles. They conjure up a sense of dimension and of transformation over time. The approach I took to try to get this effect in my work was to layer acrylic paint on hot-pressed watercolor paper, then sand back through the layers, creating a sort of artificial pentimento. Since I don’t work with shadows or foreshortening, the layering can give a sense of dimension, a sense of being able to enter into that space.
I have long had an affinity for the abstract. Math, music and visual art are the realms that I have most taken to. I often find Schoenberg to be more compelling than Mozart. Abstraction is usually non-verbal. It may create impressions; it may conjure up feelings. If there is a story associated with it, it is symbolic. For me, it is an attempt to portray a feeling or impression spatially. It is a synthesis of a multitude of observations and experiences.
I tend to use a lot of rectangles in my work, and have been asked why. I grew up being surrounded by big rectangular fields and pastures. My grandmothers and aunts made quilts. So my childhood is one source of influence. I am inclined to see things as if through a telephoto lens, flattening out the view. In my creative process, this translates to various forms of rectangles. A more philosophical consideration takes me to Kandinsky, an artist recognized as one of the founders of modern art. He grew up in the Russian Orthodox faith and later incorporated theosophy into his world view as well. He searched for a spiritual reality through art. He was fascinated with the relationship between art and music. The emphasis came to be the expression of one’s inner self rather than portraying some material reality. My inner-self seems to be populated by rectangles, which, when layered, represent planes of existence, a way of depicting the spatial sense of a multi-dimensional universe.
I can explain about my techniques such as layering: why I do it, what effect I’m striving for. I can provide a back story leading to my use of rectangles. I can describe my inspirations. All of this is true, but ultimately, visual art is a non-verbal form of expression that can open us up to realms beyond the literal and material.