Selah is a term used in the Hebrew bible with ambiguous translation. It might indicate an idea such as “pause and think” or as a cue for a musical interlude following a Psalm. This term resonates with me, and as I had begun to embrace meditation over the last couple of years for better defining my own solitude, the more I have yearned to create from this place. My relationship with painting stretches far back to childhood, so the desire to create abstractly would entail quite a process of un-learning if I used paint. Alternatively, I decided to work with fire, of which I had no prior experience with other than for its utilitarian uses. The Selah series is a process of focus and meditation, and a minimal aesthetic of my negotiation with the fire’s marking of soot on a treated surface.
I begin with coating the wood in gesso, affirming the work within a dialogue of painting. The white gesso also affords a vast range of dark and light, where the deep blackness of soot richly contrasts with the brilliance of pure white.
Working with fire on wood exemplifies the necessity of restraint, for an overzealous hand could easily let the wood engulf in a fiery demise of ephemeral beauty. Additionally, I consider restraint as a universally important responsibility, where material superfluity threatens the wellbeing of both humanity and our planet. The art works are visceral, conversing between the natural beauty and movement of fire, and my conceptual engagement with the medium.