Nature Insideout

Ronit Arnon, Eliza Barrios, and Patricia K. Kelly
March 6 - April 3, 2009

How do we experience the phenomenal world? Nature Insideout examines ways that visual artists work with a variety of internal experiences- physical, mental, and spiritual - as fuel for their artistic imagery.

Eliza Barrios’ photographic installation, Cause & Effect, examines the forces at work within our physical bodies, and is a visual record of her own body's internal response to its environment. Viscerally rooted in the physical realm, at least initially, as we enter the piece, we begin to discover ways to connect with the artist's thoughts, feelings, and mental processes regarding profound physical developments within her own body, ones that for the most part were not experienced at a conscious level.

What are dreams, memories, and fleeting mental thought patterns? Do they exist? The realm of internal mental experience is the artistic playground for Ronit Arnon’s large-scale mixed media works on paper. Combining fragments of a range of types of imagery; from mystic religious iconic images, to scraps of candy wrappers, to sketches of her family and friends, the fleeting abstract images come and go, combine and disintegrate, to create fragmentary visual experiences reminiscent of jump-cuts between dream segments, and the seemingly bizarre ways in which we experience ideas, memories, and other mental thought-forms. She says about her work: My exterior life resonating with the life inside me, fleeting substances of remembering, forgetting, and dreaming, the confluence of times, the interface of the inner and the outer, are what I deal with.

Patricia K Kelly’s exquisitely crafted paintings seem ephemerally rooted at best in the physical or mental realms. They are visionary, even extra-terrestrial. Is this the realm of the spiritual? There is a subtle irony at play in using a not often used nowadays but centuries-old-tradition of egg tempera and gold-leaf on gesso panels, as a medium for recording these contemporary visionary abstract images. The artist cryptically says of her paintings: When I look into nature something looks back at me. That something is the subject of my work.

Of course, the physical, mental and spiritual realms are scrambled together in all of these works, just as they are in all of us as well. And this is just a curatorial take on things anyway. The point of the exhibition after all is to invite the viewer to interpret for her or himself just what is going on.

Paul Bridenbaugh