ELENI SMOLEN
I found my calling in my forties when I moved upstate to a very rural environment surrounded by the natural, idyllic beauty of woodlands, stone walls, overgrown abandoned apple orchards and the wildlife outside our back door. After years of working in NYC at various non-profits, corporations and health centers, my dream became to move out of the city and to the country. It was here that the solitude and quiet allowed me to start to paint (Beginnings) in a small upstairs bedroom of a little farmhouse situated at the top of a winding, s-curved dirt road.

Entomologist Edward O. Wilson has hypothesized that our affinity for the natural world is innate, genetically coded within our DNA. He coined the term biophilia to describe this phenomenon. He called the natural world "the refuge of the spirit, greater than any human imagination."


Around 2005 I started working on a series of paintings and drawings that I titled Dharma Rain; while still working with vibrant and multiple layers of color, the mood of these works is much quieter. The exuberant density of the earlier works has given way to contemplative calm. The vertical motif of lines and/or drops/circles that is evident in most of the 48 in square paintings symbolizes the beneficent rain that nourishes all beings.The series has become, in its broadest sense, an ode to the natural world and her place as spiritual sanctuary. (May 10, 2010)

In late 2015 I embarked on a new painting series - Ridgeline Series - I'm riffing on the same pose of a horse, seemingly in mid-gallop, approaching the viewer. Most of the works are on birch panels, 16 x 16 x 2 inches. Each is framed in a color suitable for that particular work and are installed grid formation. Multiple mediums are used and vary from panel to panel - oil, pencil, ink, watercolor, collage, monoprint, etc - but all have been affixed to same birch-type panel. Some are disappearing, ghost-like abstractions vanishing into the landscape, others are more defined and articulated. The compelling part of the series is that it can work as individual pieces, or as a grouping to make a large painting.

This is a big jump from my previous work; feeling restless with abstraction and large-scale, I started playing around with drawings of horses and then, as the saying goes, one thing led to the another, and this particular pose captured my imagination.

Why a horse? I see the series as a sublimation of childhood dreams and choices I made along the way;  at the same time, and, maybe more significantly, as a metaphor for journeys not taken and the exploration of new territory - spiritually and physically.

"You catch me in the moment as I gallop by - proud and determined to move through time and space; you catch me in that instant when our eyes and hearts lock and hold each other and I know that I am not alone, despite my solitutde, for there you are, watching over me, as I make my way through eternity - or at least to that ridgeline ahead." (for LP)
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