Remmi Franklin

Mixed media art, silk scarves, notecards

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I was at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) when I began experimenting with creating images that played one color against another. I am fascinated by the way the human eye is trained by nature to see in a certain manner; we perceive familiar shapes and colors and are almost programmed to accept a certain view. Using contrasting plays of color and shape, I have sought to challenge those expectations and to induce the viewer to stretch their perceptions.

In my need to challenge my skills, there was a period I created trompe l’oeil pieces while at the same time designing and painting sets for the theater. I enjoyed working with the opposite styles, with trompe l’oeil using extremely realistic imagery to create small three-dimensional, optical illusions and then sets, where I needed to create large new realities with large, free styles.

When I made the move to my own studio 16 years ago, I had the space and freedom to go back to my roots, painting on canvas. Before long, I was inspired to start experimenting, using a wooden board as my canvas. It felt like I was home. The subject once again evolves from my materials depending on the type of wood, the size of the board, condition of the surface, the feel of the material. I currently find myself painting aerials or abstracts with multiple color combinations. With the addition of collage techniques and the layering that is inherent in the art form, I can again create juxtapositions and perceptual “challenges.”

I have always been drawn deeper and deeper into the materials, wanting to learn more about how to handle the medium itself. I love to explore managing the gradation of colors, the blending and movement of paint or paper, using paint to create an illusion and I find the best surprises often begin with a mistake. It is the technique that guides the result, rather than the other way around.

The aerial images have evolved from my exploration of the collage medium. Using colors, shapes, layers and textures, this series combines my signature, “give a new perspective” style with my love of the land and sea. While clearly a more fanciful play, once again the pieces challenge perceptions—abstract art or geography—either way they are new ways to look at something assumed to be familiar. Within each series, I am exploring a theme that might be pattern, paint or paper.

Creating my art is something I feel compelled to do. In that calling I find freedom, self expression and independence. For the person viewing my art I would hope they find pleasure.

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