Aleatoric Art in the 21st Century
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Aleatoric artist Cristine Cambrea uses intuition and emotion to guide her work
The Alliance for the Arts is featuring the inaugural gallery show including work by members of the avant-garde Movement of Aleatoric Modern Artists during the month of May. One of the aleatoric artists who is participating in Aleatoric Art in the 21st Century is surrealist Cristine Cambrea.
As a matter of definition, aleatoric art includes any composition that depends upon chance, random accident or highly improvisational execution, typically hoping to attain freedom from academic formula and the limitations placed on imagination by the conscious mind. So not surprisingly, Cambrea uses intuition and emotion to guide her work.
“I do not use the traditional process of sketching and planning,” she expounds. “After that first line, shape or color makes its way onto the canvas, I get lost in non-thought. It is my time to meditate, and when my time with the canvas is complete, I have a creation that in some way represents my dreams and life experience. Sometimes I do not understand the painting myself for awhile, but after I live with it for a time, it reveals itself to me. So it’s a gift to me too,” from the universe or some higher power.
Cambrea has several works in the exhibit, but her painting For You best illustrates the multi-dimensional result of this seemingly random but most kismet process. From a distance, you see images of faces, flowers, birds and children, but as you draw near, it becomes apparent that each is comprised of a number of smaller images. “I often create one abstract, surreal world inside of another,” Cristine points out. “The piece can be experienced in many different ways depending on how you look at it.”
Cristine derived the template for her art from her time spent living in New York City. “As I looked out the window, I would see just mass chaos. It looked like a mess of people, cars, buildings etc., but when I zoomed in on one area, I saw each space was its own little world with its own energy, emotions and life,” Cristine explains. “This is the best way to describe my paintings. From a distance, look at the confusing mass of abstraction, but step into the painting and move your eyes around, stopping every few inches, and you will see worlds inside of worlds – each with their own uniqueness.”
To get into her composition, Cambrea works quickly, creating flat textures with multi-media on the surface of her canvas. That done, she circles the canvas, studying the paint from all four sides. Her practiced eyes look expectantly for a story to emerge. And one always does, without fail.
“Once the direction has made itself known, I bring the piece to life with drawing.” The shapes and negative spaces formed by the paint dictate what she draws. “The images are often mystical and surprising even to me,” Cristine acknowledges. “I usually see faces throughout the piece, but this ‘seeing’ is not limited to art.”
Cristine sees faces everywhere she looks. In clouds, in shadows and in wood grains as well. Her wood work follows a similar creative path, “but the story already lives in the grain of the wood.” She draws what she sees in the wood, taking inestimable pleasure from expanding upon a tale that nature has already spun.
Like all aleatoric artists, the challenge for Cambrea is to invent tricks or techniques for tamping down her rational, thinking mind so that her unconscious mind is empowered to work freely. “I have been known to carry an unfinished painting to social gatherings and tuck into corners so that I can pay close attention to conversations as my hands work.” Cristine claims her friends and family understand.
When everyone else is partied out, she works in studio to the accompaniment of movies and books on tape that contain heavy dialogue and complex plots designed to preoccupy her left brain so that her right hemisphere can create, unfettered by rules and anathematic structure. Quoting Alex Grey, Cambrea insists that these ploys and practices uniquely enable her to “creatively express personal glimpses of the Divine Imagination.”
The only part she admits to thinking about is color selection, but even there, palette is “a function of my mood.”
To enjoy the abstractly surreal paintings and wood workings of Cristine Cambrea, visitAleatoric Art in the 21st Century. The exhibition will be on display at the Alliance for the Arts until 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 24 (when it will be taken down to make way for 28th Annual All Florida Juried Exhibit, which opens with a reception from 5:00-7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 30).For more information about the exhibits and all the events happening at the Alliance, please visit ArtInLee.org or call 239-939-2787.
The Alliance campus and galleries are open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Both are located at 10091 McGregor Boulevard just south of Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers. Please visit www.artinlee.org for additional details.