Friday, June 24, 2011

VISIONARY ABSTRACTION/ 'The Alchemist' by Eric Whollem, 1973/ An early mixed media painting using earth paints on panel/ CONTEMPORARY ART/ 'The Transmutation of Earth and Technology'/ With Notes on the Navajo Sandpainting of David Villasenor

The Alchemist
by Eric Whollem
mixed media on panel
Collection of the artist
2' x 3'

The Transmutation of Earth and Technology

This early painting of mine from 1973 was painted quite near
the time when I first began making paints from raw natural
earths gathered in nature.

I mixed some of my acrylic paints with some of the thick earth
mixtures that I had ground up. The result was an opaque impasto
with a rough and grainy texture. This painting was created before
I had perfected my pigment filtering process, so the pigments were
especially coarse~which added to the texture of the final work.

I was attempting to bring 'medicine' to the plastic civilization of
my day in this work. I was attempting as an alchemist to imbue
the polymer tube paints that I had been using with the virtues of
mother earth. I saw alienation from nature all around me,  feeling
that I was living in a culture that had lost it's sense of harmony
with living things.

My original inspiration to use earth pigments had come through
a sympathetic study of Navajo healing paintings, which used sand
for pigment. David Villasenor, the Navajo artist, had inspired my
work with a visionary purpose.


See more of my EARLY WORKS on these links:

A video of my early acrylic works.                             

My posts on ALCHEMY can be accessed here:

Those interested in my approaches to EARTH PAINTS may want to read:

Earth painting video.                                      

Some may want to see this Wikipedia article on SANDPAINTING, as it discusses the work of David Villasenor


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