Jessica Williams Ciemnyjewski

'When the soul wants to experience something she throws an image of the experience out before her and enters into her own image.' (Meister Eckhart)

Painting connects me to a source of vital energy and has grown to be a central part of my life. The process of starting each new canvas brings with it a certain tension or moment of suspense - what will the soul 'throw out' this time? I invariably start with some kind of impluse, mostly just the merest suggestion of where to start. Maybe a colour will come to mind or a word, or perhaps a place on the canvas will beckon indicating the starting point for what will undoubtably become a journey as each new image becomes an absorbing landscape that I 'enter into'. It is always an adventure into the unknown, there are no maps and the end point only known when I and the image have arrived. I have learned to trust this way of painting, allowing the unconscious to navigate its way through this symbolic terrain, making itself visible in the emerging image and final piece. This dive into the depths and allowing oneself to be carried along with the ebb and flow of the imaginative current, can potentially bring us into contact with those deepest parts of the Self as we give breath and life in an external art form, to the soul.

 

The Jungle Chakra paintings in the gallery are a series of six pictures which I began following a visit to Costa Rica in 2012 where I stayed in the jungle. This experience and the energy and atmosphere of that fertile environment became a Muse and source of great inspiration for me. This has been followed by the Tantra series, a body of work I am still developing. I use the word Tantra to describe a process of deep and profound engagement with the self towards transformation, (Tantra has also been likened to Jung's concept of alchemy and the process of psychological change), the paintings being symbols of this journey. Rob Preece in his book 'The Psychology of Buddhist Tantra' (2006) describes Tantra as 'the unfolding of a creative process...It's visionary nature is intimately linked with a process that brings deep inner wisdom into expression, similar to that which we see in great works of art'. My personal experience of the depth psychology of Jungian analytic psychotherapy and the process of making art images has been a formative experience and one that has been instrumental in connecting me to a place in myself which I would describe as Source, the centre of who I am. To borrow words from Preece again, like an encounter with  'a deep inner resonance...an energetic quality that pervades the body'.

 

When working to commission I follow the same kind of process oriented approach, working to capture an essence of the person or maybe a theme of their choice in the final art piece. If painting for a particular place, I look to find a resonance between the image and the space in which the painting will 'live', using colours that will reflect something of the atmosphere or energy of that environment.

 

Another dimension to my work grew out of living close to the sea in Andalucia, where I started to collect wood lying on the shore or river banks, shaped and etched by the water. These I work with using other natural materials such as shells, feathers, grasses to create small nature sculptures. They are simple in form and have a quiet and meditative quality to them .