The Kaleidoscope of the Mind brings into focus the incredible diversity of human expectations, ideas and emotions. Treating a variety of compelling topics in ways which are both convincingly detailed and yet entirely accessible, these works tread the line between realistic assessment and luminous enjoyment with poise and a vibrant appreciation for life.
Barbara Arnold’s striking encaustic paintings mix intense color with an expertly controlled use of form and line. Arnold paints with encaustic, a method of layering colored beeswax on wood. She finds that this medium links her art to her lifelong interest in ecological dangers and particularly to the disappearance of bee colonies. Arnold’s painstaking process of building a vivid image with tiers of vibrant color mirrors the interdependent strata of animals and plant life that make up an ecosystem. Each piece is an interpretation of a specific environmental issue, such as oil spills, forest fires caused by man, and nuclear power plant hazards. The paintings themselves are powerful abstracts of images generated by these events, the pared-down compositions evoking the power of minimalism. Arnold finds that the tension between simple shapes and their overlapping colors serves to highlight what she calls the “complexities and fragility of our ecosystems.”
Arnold lives and works in Boulder, Colorado. Over the past several years she has worked exclusively in encaustic, but she is also an accomplished artist in oil, ink, watercolor, charcoal, and gouache.
Artist James Beleña-Condé tackles weighty subjects like mortality, melancholy, and depression in his deceptively humble paintings, which are chiefly still lifes and figure portraits. A first-generation American with Spanish origins, he was born and raised in Brooklyn, where he attended Pratt Institute, later also studying at the Art Students League of New York. His small-format compositions in oil and egg tempera deploy a bright and playful palette, delineating and depicting objects or human figures in bold tones and closely cropped compositions. Yet within these sensitively portrayed images with their saturated hues lurks a darker animating spirit that evokes his countryman Francisco Goya.
Citing bullfighting as an art form analogous to his own, Beleña-Condé sees both as attempts at conquering death. For his part he does so by injecting incredible life and vitality into his subjects, whether in the pose of a morose, contemplative figure, or the chipper lines and forms with which he animates teapots, pieces of fruit, shoes, and other objects. Beleña-Condé's works conquer gloom and death by celebrating life, color, and light.
Adrian Chu Redmond
With quick brushwork and a poetic eye for her subjects, American artist Adrian Chu Redmond paints in order to express her vision of the world. Rich, nuanced colors grace her canvases, and her elegant use of texture masterfully embellishes her paintings with a palpable opulence. These paintings are poignant paeans to the vivacity of everyday life, and act as reminders that beauty surrounds us, even in the most mundane places. Though her work is stylistically reminiscent of Impressionist Masters such as Monet, Redmond imbues her works with a distinct contemporary feel. The result is inspiring and invigorating, encouraging the viewer to enter into a soulful meditation of the beauty within their own lives. “What I enjoy most about painting is the challenge of taking simple everyday subjects, which are typically overlooked, and giving them life and energy through the use of bold brushstrokes, strong palette knife markings and vivid colors,” says Redmond.
Married with three children, Adrian Chu Redmond currently lives and works in North Carolina.
John Diamond, M.D.
Holistic healer and artist John Diamond, M.D. creates, as part of his daily meditation, what he calls "Stillpoints" - dynamic confluences of line and form caught in a paused moment, perfectly configured in the now. As he explains this concept "The Stillpoint is the moment when you sit perfectly quietly having completed the painting - at peace, your life in perfect resolution." Here, the viewer is invited to enter wholly into the present moment, to surrender preconceptions and expectations and simply be, ever closer to the full embrace of life. For Diamond, the main purpose of his art is to reduce stress, encourage meditation and enhance Life Energy in the viewer, the healing power within. Indeed, there is something inherently soothing in each of his pieces, as harmony and balance emerge from seemingly disparate brushstrokes. There is a strong Asian influence in the work, where simplicity of form becomes a powerful driving artistic force.
John Diamond, M.D. is a pioneer in alternative and holistic medicine and founded the Institute for Life Energy and Creativity to train those interested in learning how to use the arts as a therapeutic modality. He has studios both in the United States and Australia.
Joëlle Kem Lika
French artist Joëlle Kem Lika takes her inspiration from nature, especially flowers and seascapes, though she turns such imagery into virtually Abstract Expressionist compositions bursting with gestural swaths of bold colors and brilliant plays of light. She cites the importance of the Buddhist concept of the "Pulse of Life" in her practice and, indeed, her works positively pulse with energy, whether in fiery and explosive canvases dominated by reds and yellows, or the evocative blues and greens of her water scenes and skyscapes.
Working quickly and vigorously, Kem Lika applies her saturated acrylic paints in layers, so that subtle shadings and contrasting tones emerge beneath the bold, dominant hues. The thick brushstrokes give momentum and direction to the most abstract pieces, while also lending a textured, practically sculptural element to the works. Her imagery ranges from precise and detailed figuration to pure abstraction, but the tension and energy present across this rich variety of paintings remain constant. Kem Lika invests each piece with incredible vitality and an irrepressible pulse.
Sandra Mueller-Dick’s perfectly concentrated abstract paintings turn a few simple colors into motion on the wall. Mueller-Dick works in streamlined dashes of paint and hues that are only mixed on the canvas, if they are mixed at all. From this simplified language, she creates organic formations of growing and shifting strokes, inspired by shapes found in nature. The artist’s characteristic aesthetic reflects her previous experience with many different techniques, including watercolor, silkscreen printing, oil, and a unique type of collage with painted stretches of canvas. She has incorporated the many kinds of layering into her current acrylic work, which offers a depth of field rarely seen in purely abstract art. Colors run on top of one another and shapes streak away from each other in bursts of energy. Mueller-Dick finds the particular beauty in acrylic’s pure opacity and uses it to its fullest impact.
Sandra Mueller-Dick was born in Pennsylvania and today lives in Massachusetts. In addition to exhibiting her own work across the region, she has been a gallery instructor at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for several years.
Sarah Otts’ elegant oil abstracts find a unique balancing point between minimalism and clamor. Otts gives over the majority of each painting to a field of pale paint, which ripples in endless subtle shades of gray. The paint is moved with power and assurance across the canvas, leaving wide arcs and silent brushstrokes behind it in the rich, refractory way that only oil paint can achieve. Onto this monotone landscape, Otts then sprinkles tiny sparks of color: a dab, or a single stroke partially painted over. They are not shapes, but glimpses of shapes that immediately lose themselves in the overarching energy and movement of the painting. Varying between delicacy and radical colors in this way, Otts creates a rhythm that is almost audible to the viewer in its dramatic punctuation marks and slinky undulations.
Otts was born in Mobile, Alabama, where she has since returned to work after traveling to study art. Her latest series, entitled “Play Time,” is an effort to link the spontaneity of Expressionist painting to the carefree attitude of childhood.
Working with oil paints in bright hues, Francesco Ruspoli produces paintings in which he composes a “music of color.” The resulting symphony is formed by both the careful arrangement of a limited number of shades, and the energetic flow of the compositions. With sweeping lines and expressive gestures, Ruspoli gives his images a strong sense of movement, firmly directing the viewer’s eye and setting up a sense of counterpoint. He will place a bold foreground, featuring large, striking figures that jockey for our attention, against backgrounds in which the same palette of colors is used in contrasting patterns. The interplay between levels gives his abstract world dimension and depth.
The artist notes that while he works in an abstract style, he is committed to “keeping a figurative touch.” Especially influenced by such artists as Bacon, de Kooning and Kokoschka, he, like them, starts with the recognizable objects and figures of the physical world and then transposes them into another key through a distinctive style that reflects what he calls his “developing journey through life.”
Light permeates and saturates Zoë Paterson's delightful and enticing artworks. Working in quick, urgent bursts of creativity, the artist views the natural world in a spiritual light, expressing her ardor for it through paint. In these artworks, textures are subtle, but delicately lyrical, and shapes are exuberantly sensitive. Zoë's craft shows a loving admiration for Australia, and a yearning for beauty, as well as abounding aesthetic skill. The painter considers nature as symbolic of one’s inner landscape, and her luxurious sensory worlds are frequently inhabited by allegorical figures and shadowy woodland creatures. They move through canopies of color, interwoven with sinuous foliage bristling with unspoken temptation, startling revelations and shy desires. Daring, enticing, beckoning – these figures invite us into their mystical, enchanted ways. Zoë’s prayer to know beauty is palpable in both her paintings and her poetry: “Under this veil of time / I would marry the universe / to know the secret truth / of its every beautiful molecule.”
Born in Taiwan, but raised in Sydney, Australia, Zoë’s paintings are in private and corporate collections throughout Australia and Malaysia, and have appeared in solo exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.