Ronald DeWitt Mills-Pinyas
Artist Statement (late 2020)
The COVID situation casts an existential, touchless, sometimes troubling light on the identity and relationship of individuals to one another; to relationships within families; to relationships within nations, all of which challenges us anew to define a more inclusive personal and global culture. As a painter I seek to form a wider aesthetic context in which adjacency and unity is found in the aggregate; in what carries over panel to panel through gestures; though what bridges across boundaries with color and texture; about how luminosity exposes the depths of darkness.
Language names the feelings of loss, isolation, separation and doubt. I hope to transfuse something more tangible, something to touch. The work is, in effect, an intent, a brooding, a conjuring, a healing, a calling out, perhaps an intercessionary prayer for others to manifest more than what we are a single individuals, even when was are lost in doubt. The gravity of those questions lurk, always unanswerable, mystifying, veiled. The issues transcend all that can be said, read or discussed, yet through art one is invited to experience the state of unknowing phenomenologically—with the body, mind and heart.
Artist Statement (2020)
The more formal, intellectual mathematical concerns in work from 2019 have changed. My current interest is now more urgent, tied to issues of loss, isolation, separation, doubt and hope. The visual syntax is similar, though the motive is more existential, more urgent and situational.
Through seeking to create a kind of visual dialog between multiple abstract panels, my studio work is, to me, about forming alliances, connections, the adjacency of pattern, color and gestures. Gauguin's famous existential work entitled Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? has been influential to me as a painter for many years.
I am calling my current body of work Gauguin's Doubts; glance and look away. Sometimes the gravity of those questions escapes my focus but they lurk, always unanswerable, mystifying, veiled. The questions transcend all that can be said, expressing the state of unknowing on a very basic level. These panels were originally painted in Barcelona in 2017-19, some of which were grouped as the Qualia series but some of them have now been recombined and reconfigured, some repainted substantially, some with relatively minor changes as I have sought to have the panels relate, allude and in effect "talk" to one another.
Artist Statement (2019)
My work is about learning to count to one. I attend to how the eye traverses one visual quality, one composition, toward another, how awareness jumps and connects, how it is diffused and distracted; how it reconfigures sight, associative groupings, gestalts, how in the process of painting the hand, the eye, the mind and the spirit are reconnected.
Awe, for me, is found when verbal thinking is overwhelmed by the delight, that delicacy, the tumult and the weighty drama of sensation, before such is named and made fully conscious. The ineffable experience we often terminate with a declaration of its beauty, even "terrible beauty", still produces a kind of psychic vertigo; a longing and an implicit reminder of our personal insignificance in the sweep of time and space. Such meditation, for me, stills the mental chatter and provides a new platform from which to experience an eternal moment, rooted in the here and now.
In this way, my work is not about transient situations, per se, but enduring conditions.
How does the mind come to interpret sensory data, those tender, delicate, terrible, even brutal, jolting, life-changing qualities? The perception, the presence of mind to be fully with such sensations, and to be actually composed of them without flinching, often comes in kindness and stealth, in beauty, the searing sadness and pain of what is most unbearable, speechless generosity, abundance—sometimes found in grandeur, sometimes in the tiny and seemingly insignificant, in the penumbra, in the periphery of awareness, in silent depths that frame the multitude of joys, sorrows, anxieties and insecurities of life.