Michele Deveze

things of flesh and stone


The last few years have been very important emotionally and artistically for me, and I feel that I have reached a watershed in my artistic development, and maturity in my creative responses to important personal occasions and my emotional processing of these events. These events have resulted in a body of work exploring and expressing the emotional landscape that I have traveled over the past few years. To deal with new experiences and understandings I had to invent new processes of rationalization; similarly, to express these emotions and understandings, I needed to invent a suitable depictive process.
The body of work that I am exhibiting comprises eight large works on paper. I work predominantly in mixed media monochromes and organic colours, and use collage as a tonal underlay, an illustrative vehicle, or as an intrinsic expressive surface element essential to the pictorial grammar of my work. Layered compression and abstraction of space allows conceptual manipulation to suggest the building of memories, experiences and images, as well as technical construction and building of textures. Cognitive and structural dynamic tensions, synergies, sympathies and stresses are established by developing the interrelationships between form, shape, line, texture, colour and tone. I exploit these relationships to explore subliminal emotional responses.
Structures and objects attract me by their geometry and tonal balance, the implicit but unexpressed history or significance of elements, and their relationship to myself and my own life experience. In my works on paper I attempt to evoke a history or deeper feeling than the sensual satisfaction than can be achieved by a well-balanced composition, by distilling the essential sentiment or atmosphere of a structure, environment or emotion and trying to elicit an innate response in the viewer. The work may stimulate the surfacing of formerly lost or forgotten sensory memories; or may provoke curiosity about before, after, who, what, when, where, why and how. The works essentially try to tack the subject to the now, while stating that the now is no more nor no less important than the past or the future.
My composite works are irrational. They emanate from a reservoir of sense that is barely pictorial, let alone verbal. The works originate with personal experience, and may sometimes operate as a cathartic exercise, yet at other times as an examination, expansion or explanation of a recently experienced emotional response. They evolve with minimal intervention from my conscious self, and express deep, raw, heartfelt but indefinable emotions or responses to personal situations, challenges or crises.
Rather than representing a particular time, place or event, I try to express enigmatic sensations, feelings and atmosphere. The works deal with the perceived and sensual rather than observed and conceived subject matter, and evoke sensations, feelings, emotions, and responses by the use and juxtaposition of texture, form, shape, image, line, tone and colour. To achieve this level of communication, recognisable images as well as organic shapes and evocative textures, colours or materials are used. The pictorial elements and essences stem from unconscious necessity, and have little literal or traditional symbolic relationship to the sentiment expressed.
Few people experience or interpret life or art in the same way. This is one of the mysteries and beauties of life and art. I do not expect, and possibly, do not even want, the viewer to understand or become familiar with my private emotional landscape, rather, I hope that viewers will be stimulated by these works to individual and unique emotional sensations. If these works elicit an emotional response from the viewer, be it similar to that that I held while creating them, or not, the works have achieved as much as I could hope for.
2005  Michèle Deveze