Original inspiration:Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Lady Lilith, 1868
Arianè Kamps finds a deep sense of fulfillment in figurative pop surrealism. Her most recent works are centered around the interplay between foundational cultural myths and modernity. Humanity’s interaction with modern technology is seen through the lens of primeval archetypes.
The forced introspection that accompanied the first months of the pandemic, leaden as they were with fear and compulsory isolation, created an a wholly new landscape with which to grapple. To process the fears and anxieties of the post-pandemic world into a more digestible format, Kamps’ work interprets them through the lenses of archetype, myth, and dreaming.
While her pieces first come into being digitally, as an elaboration of an idea or image, her work also incorporates the surrealist spirit with an element of automatic painting. The digital reference allows Kamps to play freely with colour and composition, but the true magic lies in the artist’s role as conduit: the message and meaning surface as she paints the final rendering in oil. The themes Kamps explores are as present in her method as they are in the finished works.
Reconciling the traditionalism implicit in humanity with society’s precipitous adoption of new technologies, Kamps’ pieces juxtapose the traditional and the modern with the real and the surreal, both in technique and in subject matter. Complex moments are captured with a sense of instancy. Traditional portraiture is spiked with neon.
All the while, the exploration of technology’s implications for humanity are infused with doubt. Man embodies the archetype of the Alchemist, not unlike Dr. Frankenstein. We think of ourselves as being primarily righteous in our embrace of new technologies and our willing immersion in them. We feed our desire to create, and to make gods of ourselves. But in our naïveté, we are blind to the implications of our actions. Glowing digital elements in Kamps’ work can be seen as our modern, neutered element of fire, bearing the very same creative and destructive force within it.
The story of Eve in the Garden of Eden pervades Kamps’ pieces, a lens through which we can pull back and take a macrocosmic view. The duality of human nature is brought into focus: how guileless and childlike we can be, easily pulled into anything that seems attractive without too much consideration, when all the while we strive for godhood. In the Garden, age is not measured by the passage of time, but in terms of the things we learn along the way.
The concept of the lucid dream is another frame within which Kamps analyses her experiences from a place of safety. In lucid dreams, the dreamer becomes aware of the dream, gains agency, and can escape the pressure to play the role as it was dealt. By taking hold of the dream, be it a sweet dream or a nightmare, we can bend it to our will, and reshape the narrative in a way that we find more acceptable.
Kamps’ introspective pieces are an uncensored expression of deep fears, soaring joys, and gnawing anxieties. They rail against the most enraging aspects of our society, while celebrating the most tender. In a world where we are so careful to censor our words, both written and spoken, Kamps takes to the canvas to speak her mind unfettered.
With such evocative themes in her repertoire, it is no wonder Kamps’ piece, Clover & Vox Dei in Cyberia has been selected for inclusion by The Lunar Codex, a project that will be the first in history to put the works of female artists on the moon. ‘Clover’ is Kamps’ contribution to Era Contemporary’s The New Pre-Raphaelites: Illumination 2021 exhibition. Vox Dei in Cyberia was chosen to be apart of Poets Artists group show ‘Reinterpreting Masterworks’ curated by Judith Peck. Once digitally catalogued, it will be sent to the moon in 1 of the 3 time capsules bearing works from 12,000 contemporary artists from 89 countries.
Clover along with Vox Dei in Cyberia will accompany the Polaris Mission to the Lunar South Pole in the fall of 2023.
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