Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room are new works by Ariel DeAndrea in Chasing the Current. Working primarily in oils on linen, DeAndrea’s paintings are beautifully serene expanses of water, gently travelled by delicate paper birds. By focusing on the recurring symbol of the origami paper crane, a talismanic object she reiterates in several aquatic contexts, the artist emphasizes the power and beauty of its unassuming simplicity. In a precisely realistic and understated style, DeAndrea renders the paper birds in a variety of patterns and colors, and stages them in open fields of rippling water. DeAndrea creates a stunning repertoire of images by exploring the subtle movement and variety in these repetitions. Not unlike hazy dreamscapes, her works feel intensely personal and heavy with meaning, conveying a feeling of arrested calm that borders on the uncanny at times. We are left with the feeling of having witnessed something simultaneously quiet and intensely poignant.
These inanimate objects become vessels for meaning that far exceeds their tangible significance. Vulnerable and beautiful, something ephemeral haunts the impermanence of the fragile paper bird. Finding resilience and beauty in small, humble things is a concept DeAndrea derives from her interest in the Japanese spiritual tradition of Shinto; a tradition that upholds the spiritual value of nature. By placing the little paper likenesses back into a depiction of the natural world, DeAndrea offers a powerful visual metaphor for a spiritual communion with nature.