The unknown and sense of uncertainty can make one anxious and even fearful. It is definitely something that is often avoided, but artist Caitlyn Shea desires the uncertainty when creating her powerful paintings, even manipulating various mediums to distance herself from intention. Painting and re-painting, configuring and re-configuring the composition in the midst of the creative process, Shea produces figurative artwork with the spirit of Abstract Expressionism. As a female delving into a style dubbed long ago as “masculine”, Shea summons a new, strong sense of femininity to abstract art.
The actual process of building up and breaking down the image are critical elements in Shea’s work. Her paintings consist of meditative yet lively colors applied in an action painting aesthetic with an animal, insect, or a human being as her muse for the visual complexity they can offer. For this artist, inspiration is often found in a photo of a natural being in a unique pose or from a unique perspective, giving Shea a compelling layout to explore the anatomy. Through a gestural array of colors the subject seems to be formed through the abstraction that gives the being life and energy.
“I like to take risks and will sometimes bring a painting to a place where I completely dislike it. Then a spark will come back again and I will rework the painting. Figuring out the balance between form and abstraction keeps me engaged and excited – and keeps me up all night very often!”
Utilizing charcoal, acrylics, spray paint, and even house paint helps Shea generate the out-of-the-box results that she strives for. She says “These mediums give me unpredictable results and bring an element of discovery that makes painting more exciting…In many ways I allow the mediums to dictate the work, and I pull the form out of the materials.” This method allows the viewer to witness the process of change as it unfolds throughout the painting, creating a state of sublime.
Over the summer Shea experienced her greatest achievement as an artist when she completed a massive humming bird mural on a vacant building in Riverhead thanks to the East End Arts Council’s program “JumpstART”. After an enormous amount of work, proving her capability, and fundraising, Shea created her own opportunity to display her work to the public. She says “In the end it is my greatest achievement because it will continue to stand in Riverhead permanently and offer hope to a community that is eager to revitalize.”
Shea will be making her art a public affair in Huntington as well at SPARKBOOM’S JINGLE BOOM: HOLIDAY BASH event on Saturday, December 20th at Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Gallery located at 213 Main Street from 6-10PM. She has decorated a window display of whimsical animals in chaotic holiday environment consisted of 2D and 3D elements. Along with great artwork to see there will be craft beer courtesy of Saint James Brewery, treats from Stella Blue Bistro, Hint water, prize giveaways courtesy of Sip Tea Lounge, Lotus Vintage, Kilwins Huntington, and Escape Pod Comics, and live music and poetry. RSVP here via Facebook.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenna Weis grew up on Long Island and graduated from Commack High School in 2007. She received her Associates Degree in Visual Arts from Suffolk Community College then went on to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Criticism from Stony Brook University. This is her second summer working for SPARKBOOMTM, first as Lead Blogger. She hopes the blog will really engage readers to want to see more of the artists work at our SPARKBOOMTM events and help further promote the artists themselves.