Many artists are obsessive, but these ones have turned obsession into an art-form.
An exhibition on display Sunset Park’s Tabla Rasa Gallery is highlighting works that required obsessive, meticulous focus to create — not to mention countless hours in the studio.
One artist said her pieces were many years and thousands of miles in the making — but that is an important part of her process.
“Obsession fuels the fire to my creative practice, I believe that to be prolific one must be obsessive,” said Bensonhurst artist Pamella Allen, who will lead a talk on the exhibition — appropriately titled “Obsession” — with several of the other artists on March 23.
Allen’s works in the show are her take on mandalas, inspired by the circular motifs in Buddhism, Hinduism, and some Native American traditions. She made the pieces by re-purposing other artworks she has created, layering them with recycled artifacts from her life on the road. Allen’s mandalas incorporate sand and soil from Costa Rica and Long Island; ink drawings, text, sketches, and photos made while she was sailing the Aegean and the North Atlantic oceans; and photos taken in Malawi and India.
Allen said this level of detail and obsession is integral to her art. By repainting her own work over and over again into the body of the mandala, she creates her own rhythm — or mantra — in order to bring herself and, ultimately, the observer into a place of meditation.
“Obsession has always been a positive manifestation of an extreme process that brings me to a certain level of meditation,” said Allen.
Another artist in the exhibition said she does not even want to know how long her pieces took to make — or even conceive.
“I never know exactly how much time I spend on each piece,” said Beatrice Coron, a French-born artist now living in Manhattan who is known for her meticulously crafted works cut out of paper. “It is a process of thinking of the concept. I call it ‘brewing’ and that part can take weeks or months.”
Coron’s piece in the show, titled “Peacock,” is a hauntingly beautiful black and white work, featuring a woman’s body balancing in front of a busy cityscape — every house and apartment containing tiny people and animals.
Each detail of the 126-inch-long work had to be cut out by hand. But like Allen, Coron said she relishes such a labor-intensive process.
“The time spent on my art is a refuge,” she said.
“Obsession” artists talk at Tabla Rasa Gallery [223 48th St. between Second and Third avenues in Sunset Park, (718) 833–9100 www.tablarasagallery.com], March 23 from 2:30–4 pm. Free.