We have some technologies for aiding our quest toward consciousness, toward life-death-life cycle affirmation. These are the technologies of symbol making, experiencing community as spirit, infusing wildness with cultivation, blending the natural and the cultural with conscience. These technologies make each of us everyday artists.
I like to explore different landscape representations to express my personal experiences and cultural interactions with geography. I am interested in the conflicts which arise from our expectations about land use, expectations shaped by idealized art and design images and our vernacular urban setting. By employing the approach of pattern and decoration, I would like to create a different language referring to many traditions including maps, Roman and Byzantine mosaics, Japanese decorative art, textile design, indigenous Australian paintings and shrine technologies of many cultures. I like to use the term biocenology in this interface of cultural and natural systems because it is the study of communities and member interactions in nature; it is an exploration of systems, part of the science of ecology.
Much of my work over the past twenty years expresses the theme–Land Use: An Alchemical Treatise to explore the connections between our belief systems about society and how we treat the planet, each other.
Currently I work with acrylic, encaustic, mixed media and printmaking approaches. Some paintings feature topographic maps which I photocopy onto handmade paper. Others incorporate images or formal structures. Upon this layer, I lay acrylic or encaustic washes; sometimes more than one to build luminosity and relate to the landscape. Then I add stamped images of animals such as fish, birds and eggs and seeds, using brilliantly colored and iridescent pigments derived from mica. With these techniques, I am trying to express the complexity of overlapping multiplicity and the tendency of natural processes to pursue cycles of life.
In its relentless desire for control, the Western landscape tradition distances the viewer from the outdoors and people. Visual traditions and themes create a kind of language that exerts a powerful effect on social consciousness. Artists choose particular traditions and themes to explore and alter these ranges of expression. I want to create new narratives that reaffirm our ties to where we live, the planet, nature and its cycles.
Alice Dubiel January 2009