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Norine Kevolic

Artist Statement

A lifelong fascination with Oceanic, Tribal, and Byzantine Arts is at the heart of my artistic vision. These culturally diverse and stylistically very different art forms share a common thread: they are highly expressionistic symbols of inner and outer realms. Carved totems, ornamental masks, gilded sacred icons, all embody great spiritual energy and meaning. In them I see the hand-worked textures of imagination and magic.

My exploration of wood and bamboo began in the 1990s while I was an assistant in a fine-woodworking shop. I hoarded natural and dyed wood scraps that were destined for the trash bin. By spending countless hours on the bandsaw rough-cutting various shapes from these woods, my mosaic technique began to emerge. These tiles eventually cohered into figurative compositions which were inspired by many decorative qualities of Byzantine Art, the art of my heritage.

The figurative works gradually morphed into my current semi-abstract relief compositions, with the introduction of bamboo into my palette in 2010. The inexhaustible versatility of wood and bamboo offer a world of possibilities as an elegant form of expression. The stages from rough-cut bamboo or wood, to final composition require much hand-tooling. Each piece in the composition is treated as a sculptural element in itself, with finished edges. I prefer a refined but not perfect finish to my work, with some tool marks desirable – an imprint of the artist’s hand at work.

I thoroughly enjoy the challenge to invent, and the surprises that arise, while turning a jumble of abstract ideas into something tangible. Sustained experimentation with these natural materials has given way to an original personal iconography. Some recurring themes in my work are: the moon, water, space, enlightenment, and dreams.

Artist Bio

Tribal and Oceanic art, and the gilded icons of Byzantine art, have always fascinated me. They are stylistic artifacts of inner and outer realms, holding great energy and meaning. These have long been the heartbeat of my artistic life, helping me to uncover my true self.

My work is a form of spiritual expression using natural elements. I use bamboo and wood to translate abstract thoughts and emotions about Life into visual stories. Some of my recurring themes are of the Moon, Dreams, Space, and the wonders of everyday life. In my paintings and silverpoint drawings I often use beach stones, seedpods, twisted branches and other natural objects. My work in all of these mediums has evolved into a personal iconography.

The process of preparing the bamboo and wood elements is involved and requires many hours of experimentation and dedication. During this time, I am transforming my abstract ideas into tangible objects. With my willingness to jump in and trust my intuition, the steps forward always appear. After 25 years, it’s still exciting to discover more possibilities that these natural materials offer.

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