Studio 55 - Paula Roland



Category / Medium:  Paintings/Drawings - Charcoal, Graphite, Pencil, Encaustic and Cold Wax, Ink, Acrylic

Print Making, Encaustic Monotype Printmaking

Favorite nearby restaurant: Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen

As an exhibiting painter, alternative printmaker, and installation artist, my art-making, spanning years, is simultaneously abstract and pictorial. I utilize natural phenomena as a lens through which I examine connections to the world around me and life as it develops.

Upon moving to Santa Fe, I found New Mexico to be a nexus for the unknown. With its proximity to two National Laboratories and the Santa Fe Institute, a complex systems think tank, the culture of science resides alongside many spiritual traditions. Matter and spirit seem to merge in quantum physics and set the conditions for a poeticized science and a different view of the natural world.

These are not concept-driven pieces--their meaning is revealed through physically creating and allowing materials and process to have a voice. I use texture and large scale to evoke memory and the senses and a physical presence beyond the image. Over time these themes have formed an expansive, interconnected body of work with the natural world as its core, "chance" as a vehicle for discovery, and metaphor to connect my personal journey to the work. 

I’ve developed cut paper installations with rear lighting in works about disappearing land; layered prints viewed as one image with two meanings, and: prints with video projection to evoke time. Recent paintings have explored rapidly changing lands, and metaphorical "mapping" to find my way.    

My current series, Koans, addresses the role of Carbon in life’s processes. These large encaustic monotypes and print installations use artist-made encaustic paint pigmented with graphite, a mineral form of Carbon. 

Like Zen koans, the works present absurd riddles: 

How is it that Carbon is integral to all life processes but is destructive to the planet? 

Does light emerge from the darkness? 

Like Zen koans, can these surprising paradoxes trigger new ways of thinking?