SANDRA MUSS | STATEMENT
I have always been an artist at my core, essentially a painter who explores bi-dimensionality but whose works have progressively turned into volume and space. My fascination to portals that becomes unfettered have been my main inspiration along with the journey itself. For me, the journey through these entryways of the mind, whether my own — or, for that matter, anybody else’s — is a representation of the exploration of freedom, in the metaphorical and physical sense, and makes the notion of “breaking free” the point of departure for all of my work. This interest in thinking about spaces and their interconnectedness stems from my life-long fascination with C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, where the interaction between the natural world, human beings and forces in between are central themes.
My work is rooted in my life-long affinity for natural elements and their ever-changing relationship with time and its relentless impact on them. As a girl, I began collecting organic materials that I considered “treasures:” bones, feathers, rocks. To this day, I am a gatherer of objects that are eroded, oxidized, weathered, always keenly interested in working with ideas that explore the impact of the passage of time and erosion, that delve into nature’s mathematical beauty, and ultimately probe how humans explore and alter, much like an alchemist would, the natural world in which we live. In my practice, I relate on a daily basis to the excitement of encountering both natural and human-made discarded elements, such as doors, mirrors, skylights, wire, along with rocks, seashells and leaves, to name a few, which are then incorporated into my paintings and volumetric sculptures and installations.
In addition, my immersion into nature as well as the manipulation of natural elements in order to incorporate them into my pieces, are key to understanding my approach to art making: the natural realm and the human realm connected by interconnected portals. As such, the main structure of my works usually begins with explorations and findings that can be physical in nature or just images I capture and paint au plain air. A second stage entails the incorporation of those found elements into a specific plane or context. In the final stage, the creation of each work consists of a quiet celebration of ceremonial rituals performed in the studio that can entail both abstract and figurative elements and carry within the energy of a particular compositional order, product of an extensive dialogue with the materials I use and the intuitive organization of a wide array of separate parts into a whole.
I focus on the immediate emotion that the gaze experiences while in nature. It is for this reason that I strive to produce abstract paintings and sculptures that prioritize emotional perspective over visual perception. My cross-disciplinary work also includes intervened light boxes, two-dimensional assemblages and large-scale steel sculptures, conducive for outdoor installations and site-specific installations.
Recently, I have been researching in concepts of acoustic ecology as a way of reflecting on the relationship between the visual, the physical (entering the works) and the aural experience, thus connecting the human experience with the natural perception of our surroundings in a shared sound space. As a consequence, I have begun incorporating sound and music and am collaborating with composers and musicians to develop yet another dimension of perception into my pieces.
Through my art practice, I intend to widely explore the notion of freedom, by means of combining different materials and techniques, and living art itself through the deep experience it carries, as I believe that despite our technology-driven lives, our perceptive senses remain very much alert and tuned into other realms.