Rachel Steely

Patterns in Flight

Artist Statement

Perseverance. Rebirth. Vitality. Making new again.

There are moments when one looks back in time and remembers glimpses of what came before.  Visually, one’s eyes are isolated in perceiving what is now, however through images, pieces of another time can be superimposed.  Time and animation are integral elements in my dynamic still life paintings.  During their lives, butterflies are creatures that themselves undergo great change.  They start as insects bound to the earth and transform into wonders of flight.

In these paintings, the simplified patterns of wings, closely cropped, tend to eclipse the creature nature of each butterfly.  Diagonal orientation of some canvases adds to the energy of the image.  This position breaks convention and presents a shape that can be referential to transition.

The details of how wings open: the way that sometimes light falls on the wings creating a translucent glow, reminiscent of stained glass, and how the patterns foreshorten as the wings open, add to the sense of movement, and at times rhythm, in the paintings.

A continuous and ‘unlimited’ conversation is encouraged by the use of short poetic titles. These names can be understood as word plays on the butterfly’s name, but can also relate to time, refined beauty, and challenges overcome.

Patterns in Flight. Patterns of movement, color, and light.  Sometimes a pattern manifests where no pattern exists; patterns are implied but not actualized.  These paintings are not static butterflies that have been collected and mounted, but elusive creatures in flight.

Rachel Steely, 2013

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