Rima Staines "The Alchemist" 2012
I've been aware of Rima Staines' charming, folkloric work for a while now, but this recent piece of hers is really blowing me away. It's a self-portait of sorts depicting the artist as alchemist, a sentiment that's incredibly close to my heart. You can read her moving explanation of the piece's conception in full, but here are a few choice excerpts:
"I wondered at the thread of soul which goes into a work of art - be it music or writing or painting or dance or theatre or whatever - and then leaks out again upon it being experienced. It then goes into that person standing before the work of art, and actively changes them. What then comes out of that person is coloured by the particular magical thread they've taken hold of in falling under the spell of that piece of art.
...This is why beautiful things created with soul matter: they set running a series of alchemical reactions inside human beings, that are vital for living a meaningful life. The creation and imbibing of these beautiful things is just as necessary to us as is the husbandry and nourishment of food...
...Underneath the Alchemist is a word in golden Cyrillic letters - Алхимичка. It means Alchemist, but I’ve feminized the ending. There isn’t really a word for a woman-alchemist, and I’m told that this word might sound rather ridiculous to Russians.
This painting rests on a pivot on which balance many spectrums... music:painting, sound:vision, red:violet, above:below, sun:moon, masculine:feminine, invisible:visible, ash:phoenix, and so on... The most obvious pivot is the place of intersection of the two circles, within which Venn-space is held the heart, the place where I feel physically these transformations taking place in me."
You can purchase prints of this personal, exquisite painting here. I may be doing so myself.