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Merillee Challiss | Source Energy

I don't really feel like I am a painter, but more an illustrator of inner realms. These works represent subject matter and themes that have either entranced me (cave art, plants and animals, "journeying", fractals, psychedelic states), vexed me (witches, my own darkness), or both.

Thoughts such as: "How can I represent my belief that everything is connected in an image?" and "What will the monuments that we build to Nature and her creatures, after we have destroyed it all, look like?" and "How can I address the subject of Animal Consciousness in my work?" are rattling around in my brain as I paint.

All of the works are, of course (in some measure), failures on my part to communicate these ideas. The images merely document my attempts to essentially paint ENERGY, the spirit, or source energy of these attractant forces. It is only obliquely that I am able to realize anything objectively approaching authenticity. Because I use gouache, a medium more suited for illustration than painting, and because of my Alabama roots and reverence for subject matter that ranges from shamanism to EO Wilson, to the philosophy of Timothy Morton, I am, at best, effecting a kind of Southern Gothic-Psychedelic-Pennsylvania Dutch aesthetic. As I work, I aim to extend the connection with source energy by entering a state of flow or trance state, by turns anchoring and transcending (by obliteration) the image with strokes applied in rhythmic staccato.

Later Event: November 20
Gallery Hours