Paula Martiesian

Paula Martiesian

Artist Statement

Without glasses, my vision of the world is a dreamy myopic haze of color and movement. There is no digital clarity in my nature. It is chaos and constant change, lyric and otherworldly. Even in the confines of the urban landscape, I see wilderness. In my world, gardens are not neat and tidy rows of vegetables or an idyll of perfectly delineated flower beds, but a decidedly messy competition between vines and trees and plants for light and water.

I look to nature for its infinite variety, for its serendipitous nature, for its sheer unexpectedness. And I try to emulate that unpredictable quality in my paintings. It is no longer enough to “solve” the pictoral problems of composition, color and line that a painting poses. Instead, I strive to recreate the very atmosphere I see, translating a natural ecosystem of color and movement onto a very unnatural rectangle of canvas. I want to discover and celebrate a world that has no straight lines, a world that has no neat and tidy solutions.

I have always seen colors that others don’t see: burnt pinks in the dry grassy fields bordering the freeway, watery reds in the reflections of my dog’s drinking dish and dusky purples in the shadows of the evergreens in my garden. It seems natural, therefore, that my paintings reflect this lifelong connection with color.

Swatches, drips, and lines of color play back and forth and in and out of the picture plane of my canvases. I use rags and paper towels to rub the paint into the surface of the canvas, saturating the color deep into the very pores of the linen. I use brushes to coax color into lines and palette knives to slather paint onto the surface. The very next moment, I wipe it all away, in search of the elusive moment where everything works as one.

When everything does come together, it is magic. The essentially still medium of paint on canvas explodes into a dynamic field of color that sways and dances and sings of hue and movement. This is my moment. Hundreds of hours go into each painting and if I am lucky, those hours coalesce into one fistful of fused color, a canvas chock full of nuance and intensity.

Here are a few examples of her work.