LINES AND LAYERS

Artist Statement, Nola Ahola

On an unforgettable sunny afternoon in l980 I visited Avebury, England, a village located in a huge stone circle. Avebury predates Stonehenge, set in the richest prehistoric area in Britain or France. That same afternoon I was thrilled to discover a strip of Roman road which lay on a trajectory of a boundary between two distant fields. Nearby, a stone barrow had preserved a remnant of the earliest evidence of farming in England, grooves of a plowed field, dating from 3500BC. In this experience two factors touched on what would become fascinations which have informed my painting: ancient traces of roads and boundaries, and striations of fields. Patterns of fields have inspired artists from Van Gogh to David Hockney. My own love of field pattern, together with my fondness for maps, has been the special focus of my recent landscapes. Stratification is suggested by overlays of colored washes, with hints of roads and other human tracings. The result shows complexity as well as implied turbulence.

In my figurative watercolors washes lead the way, then contour lines follow drawn through the washes. The effect is immediate, with a nod to traditional Asian aesthetics.

Recently, I developed a new figurative format in collage on canvas, using thinned acrylic on handmade papers, similar to my landscape technique. In this series I aim for a more abstract take on the figure in its exotic and patterned setting. Unlike my directly painted watercolors, these figures are composed slowly with many adjustments. The result is a distant world, almost as remote as the earliest human habitat.

 

Crescent Survey, Acrylic collage, 36"X60"
 
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