Sloat Shaw - Artist Statement

When I paint, I enter the unknown, a place that feels both outside time and rich with dreams and myths about the earth. I connect with this zone which allows the paint to flow on canvas without my conscious interference. I find that ancient myths have relevance to help explain our present chaotic times.

During my studies with anthropologists Margaret Mead and Levi Strauss, I learned of universal myths that reach beyond time. I found a new context for my interest in how societies are organized. With paint, I could explore the world in an entirely new way. I began to use the myths of the ancient world, where the land is alive and responding to humanity, to evoke a vibrant earth.

My paintings, built slowly over time with thin glazes, aim to evoke the feeling of both movement and stillness, as well as a sense of the long reach of time. I use Earth/Sky Chi Gung Meditation to stimulate unconscious parts of my brain, and make visible an invisible landscape.

As the painting emerges through layer after layer, older layers settle, and new ones emerge. When I paint the constant shifts in the earth, I rely upon inner vision. I picture rock and earth in my mind in the same manner as I picture bones and muscle lying beneath flesh when I paint portraits.

My goal is to embrace the freedom of looking deep within, to find that place of unspoken but universally shared memories, and to let that journey inward inform the painting with something unexpected.