Irena Carlson Art
Irena Carlson

Irena Carlson is a visual artist and writer who uses primarily painting, photography and collage for her creative works. Her particular specialty is the interplay of art and spirituality, with works that bridge from magical realism to abstraction. Her current work includes a series of intuitive paintings of the Runes-the ancient Nordic alphabet of archetypal symbols, and Tibetan Buddhist concepts.

Irena studied art at University of California, Irvine, and photography at Los Angeles City College. Graduate studies in Writing and Fine Art were completed at Eastern Michigan University. Living in Turkey, France and later New Zealand have contributed important influences to her creative work. She has written numerous stories published by the Travelers' Tales series of books. Her photography and paintings have been exhibited in Los Angeles, Michigan, and Wisconsin in both solo and group shows.

Artist's Statement: Irena Carlson

In my artwork, I sometimes feel I am creating a magical world from the inside out. A world the dragonfly might be seeing--a moving sphere-like world of shape and color. Something we might look at and see a city. But perhaps it's just a stand of colorful plants.

Sometimes it is the unseen seed of life inside of something now made visible. The inside of a plant, the planetary seeding, the inside seed of my birth and what came before. A brightness and clarity of a color that's beyond what the eye sees, that is not necessarily the reality of it. I suppose this could be called embellishment on the one hand, but in some other way it could be the truth. Perhaps what we see with our eyes is not the truth, but tailored to our particular physiology, our perception…which has now been shown to be different for every being on the earth. For instance, the mantis shrimp sees the world with an incredible vision and can see ultraviolet light. It has four ultraviolet photoreceptors compared to our one.

So much of what I see in museums of contemporary art is about truth, but more often than not, dark truth. There is also light truth, which is so often made "light" of. Light truth and the truth of light--can be the same, but can also be polar opposites.

There is an aboriginal song I heard while living in New Zealand--"turn your face to the sun, and you don't see the shadows." I took this to heart. I know the shadows are there. But I can't change the world as it is on a grand level ... so I do my small part to inspire the light and consciousness of uplifting spirit.

I see spirituality in the mundane, phenomenological world. There is spirituality in everything. I tend to look at the positive and the bright because I enjoy that. I enjoy creating that, things about light. The interplay of the colors themselves, and of the paint-the way it mingles and melds with other colors, the variation in the surfaces. Even just that is enough for me. The exploration of a surface, of the color, of the color's interaction with others. This is part of the existence of light, an aspect of light.

My mother said my first word was "light". Disappointing perhaps that it wasn't mama or dada. This seems to be a theme in my life. Light, utopias, spirituality that is earth-based and pantheistic--spirit in everything. In trees, in insects, in botanical things, in the moon and stars.


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