Erika grew up in a rather rural town between Woodstock and Albany in the art history rich “Hudson River School” area of New York State. From 1999-2000, she attended the Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, Scotland where she had a studio in the famed Mackintosh Building.
In 2001, she received her Bachelor Degree in Fine Art – Painting from Beaver College (a.k.a-Arcadia Univ.). Since then her work has been exhibited not only locally but also in Los Angeles, Glasgow Scotland, and Bari Italy. Currently Erika lives in the Hudson Valley of New York where she creates her artwork.
Upcoming: April – May 2011. Group Show at Davey Jones Gallery. Albany, NY.
I create mandalas and combine that with the less structured aspects of abstraction. Historically, mandalas have been created in various forms for thousands of years by cultures around the world (for example the Tibetan monks still make them out of sand). There have been many definitions for what a mandala “is”. Personally, I refer to these circular images as windows into the soul, where work comes spontaneously from thoughts and emotion, and is expressed through abstract gestures. I work from my innermost feelings, thoughts, and memories
In creating my mandalas I work primarily in two mediums – paint (usually watercolor) and digital manipulation or compilation. No matter what the medium is there are always some basic thoughts and overlaying features: pattern, abstraction, and transparent layering. I never work from a preconceived notion of what the final appearance will or should be. Working with many layers, they build up over time to create the illusion of depth. By utilizing both conventional and unconventional tools I allow unexpected patterns to emerge. These controlled accidents are instinctively driven, rather than consciously decided, to ultimately create a dialogue between myself, the artwork, and the viewer.
There are some differences between mediums…
Digital Mandalas: Almost always I use photographs that I have personally taken. Regardless of the subject matter of the initial photograph, by the time the work evolves to completion, there is still that sensory ghost of the original image. Leaving the viewer curious about what the original subject was, or if they know or have figured it out there is still wonder in what one is looking at. These digital paintings often take up to or exceed 10 layers till I reach a final piece. In the most recent pieces I have also been incorporating my watercolor mandalas which add an imperfect element to the image.
Painting Mandalas: Unlike most watercolor paintings, my paintings are made with complete disregard to the thickness or thinness of each layer, the color, and allowing them to build up sometimes exceeding 100 layers. There are also times that I paint on old book pages and in doing so the original text becomes obscured in places and reveled in others.
One will often find that the titles I use do not guide people to a so called correct “answer” or direct you on how you are supposed to feel or see. This is absolutely intentional, for although each one means something to me, part of my work is in the unique experience individual has. There is no right or wrong response. I find it fascinating that every individual has a unique experience when looking at my work because we are all affected by color and pattern differently.
‘My intention and desire is to evoke feelings, thoughts, and questions.’