BEYOND THE SURFACE
This selection of koi paintings is from a collection that was inspired from the two koi ponds at the Garfield Park Conservatory. The two ponds are a constant source of inspiration and a portal for thinking outside-of-the-box. They were designed to challenge the viewers perception of space. The quite solitude and meditative rhythm of the water, along with the reflected lines of the glass and iron-grid ceiling create a meditative experience that often sends me to places I have never been before. That space is constantly being redrawn by the koi fish. It is in that space that I can begin to solve whatever problem I have. The horizontal and vertical lines of the glass ceiling become a string of sentences on a page or the lines on sheet music. The koi fish act as conductors or writers and the air bubbles they create add punctuation in a never ending story. The fish, sky, reflections in the water and the water itself are in constant communication with each other and that communication is in constant flux. Just when you think you have a grasp on the conversation a fish will swim by changing the course of the conversation in its wake. Or the sky will suddenly change color changing the whole mood surrounding the subject thus changing it’s meaning.
I believe that one of the reasons these two koi ponds are so helpful to me in my thought process is that when concentrating on them I am forced to think on multiple levels. There is nothing to ground the viewer. With the exception of “Pennies From Heaven” there is nothing in the paintings that suggests that there is an end to either the depth of the pond or the expanse of the sky, making the fish seem to float in infinite space. The surface of the water is simultaneously reflective and transparent forcing the viewer to think both up and down at the same time. The viewer’s perception axis of each painting is also challenged. We see the tops of the koi fish and the reflection of the glass ceiling. That would indicate that the axis is on a vertical line. Yet, the paintings are hung on a wall that gives the viewer a horizontal axis thereby challenging the viewers perception of what is up and what is down.