GEMMA ASTOR AND SCOTT TROXEL
I work in acrylics and am called to render the tiny worlds and dark spaces of decay and rebirth found in the forest floor. Wild plants and trees have become familiar friends as I grow older and spend more time in nature. I seek to bring pause and focus to the minute beauty found at every turn in the woods.
The work that has begun to come forth is emotional, intense and heavily rooted in devotion to Great Mother, or the Divine Feminine. My paintings are visual evidence of my own pursuit of coming home to her and, ultimately, myself. I am drawn to the gritty, messy, life-giving, death-making cycles of existence – not the pastel, homogenized vision of ‘mother’ and ‘mothering’ we so often see in our culture. On my own spiritual path to the feminine, I have been particularly inspired by Jungian analysts and authors, Marion Woodman, and Clarissa Pinkola Estès. Their work in this lifetime is a rallying cry to wake up and come home, to be held, and to heal this separation from mother & nature. These pieces I am compelled to create are like love songs, they are whispers of gratitude, of reverence, and surrender.
I am particularly inspired by mid-century modernism, where wood and organic shapes were combined with other materials to suggest a type of futurism, though now they are considered vintage. Time has passed on but these pieces remain in that context of when they were designed. I want my work feel this way, somewhat nostalgic, aged and organic with the feeling that it could also be from a future time.
I predominately work with wood as my base medium, due to its strength, dimension and organic nature. The inherent texture of wood combined with paint and other man made materials allow me to explore the concepts of old and young, worn versus new, organic versus man-made and the past versus the present and future. I look to capture a sense of time in my work and often combine the feeling of different eras within a single piece. I see this as a direct parallel with human life, as we too grow older and interact with other generations, both younger and older.
I am also particularly interested in items that were considered technologically or aesthetically advanced, only to be passed on by the consistency and tenacity of time. For example, an airplane boneyard where cutting edge fighter jets from the 60’s sit in forgotten decay. They are still beautiful to look at from a design standpoint, even though these are no longer “modern” in the sense that time and technology has passed them by.