JIELA RUFEH ARTIST STATEMENT
Visual art is an immediate expression of meaning- a commentary on things personal, societal, or even universal- it has a unique energy. An unfolding universal energy has been an evolving interest of mine and my work has been influenced by my study of it and its manifestation throughout different cultures.
Nature to me is an obvious place to start when dealing with these themes. We can see ourselves in the shapes of nature and in the way all its various elements affect one another, as wells our destructiveness towards nature and mankind. There are also man-made structures and landscapes that reflect our nature in a different way; years of layered graffiti reveal an undocumented history of creativity. But the insistent beckoning of nature is the hardest to ignore.
I travel extensively to photograph remote natural locations and dive deep into the landscapes. It becomes a meditative full body experience, where I am completely absorbed by the elements around me - the colors, the smells, the silence, the peace, the wind brushing against my skin, the warmth of the sun... all awaken my senses.
When I come back to the studio I never really know where the photograph will take my painting. For me, feelings are paramount. The picture speaks to my gut, my body responds instinctively, emotionally; with color, texture or the absence thereof. Applying the encaustic medium to my photograph and oil paints- breaks the boundaries of the traditional photograph and creates a 3 dimensional quality that pulls the viewer in closer. My goal is that this visceral approach allows me to communicate something personal that becomes universal.