I vividly recall the first time I held my breath, dove into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and opened my eyes underwater. At a young age, I loved immersing myself in this warm body of water, enveloped by something much larger than myself yet mysteriously familiar and comforting. When I opened my eyes, I was able to see but the visual experience was otherworldly, blurred and beautiful, peaceful, solitary—one that engaged more than the eye. It was a different way of seeing, one that employed all the senses and immersed me in a wholly different sensory experience.

In the studio, my process mimics this childhood experience. Suspended in a transcendent space, the painting process allows me to tap into my senses and reveal an internal language that is both personal and universal—creating softly focused, yet very familiar realities that I have deeply perceived but never identified.

Through a weaving of drawing and painting, lines extend from my body to create the space—continually layered, pushed back or muted creating an ever-changing shift on the picture plane—creating a new 'somewhere' to explore. The colors, mark-making, and highly activated canvas create a final experience that comes into view more as a fleeting memory, a blurring of sorts—stirring up a remembrance of a vision from deep within, one that measures the experience less as cerebral but more sensing and intuitive.

The art making reminds me that I am a part of the exuberant and always changing energy that is life. Together with the paint, brushes, and the surface, a transformation takes place within myself and on the canvas. As with life, I find both the journey and the outcome endlessly intriguing.

 

—Audrey Phillips