Installations + Studio Work


Artist Statement

Non-objective abstract art, although inescapably filled with human reference, is my preferred way of getting closer to the bone in expressing the unseen and unsaid. 

Why do I want this? Because there’s a lifting energy for me in it, and also a rigor distinctly different from that of working on figurative art. Choosing to exclusively use color, shape, line, texture, and scale for emotional and visual impact suits my desire to work with elemental visual tools. 

My process for each piece takes me from simple through complex and out the other side to complex-yet-still-simple. I start with a very basic concept which could be a gesture, a specific shape, or a color relationship. My decisions along the way result in removing things that dilute my excitement for the original idea, as well as recovering from any experimental detours gone wrong. 

Frequently, and lately, I use pattern as my jumping off point. This is my earlier work re-surfacing differently. Repetition and pattern, again and still. I'm probably obsessed for all of the usual human reasons going way, way back. Although at first glance, these color-field pieces could appear to be samples of larger continuous pattern designs, each is meant as a complete composition in itself.

I did start as a painter, but I have also always built things. Eventually, I gave in to the joy of incoporating my constant cutting, shaping, casting, sanding and nailing into my primary form of art, which is painting. By variably combining paint, aluminum, wood, nails, and plaster—sometimes in partnership with less rigid materials—I gratify my need to work more physically than traditional painting allows.

This merging of construction and painting is what fuels my imagination. The results are what I refer to as either ‘constructed paintings’ or ‘painted constructions’, depending on the visual emphasis of that piece. I return to painting and drawing regularly as a parallel activity in my practice.

I love coming up with titles. My titles refer to the underlying meaning of each piece—sometimes as a simple place card that describes the obvious, and other times as an additional play on the same concept that seeded that artwork. 

Mimi Cahalan