St. Mary's Projects in Studio Art:

Rachel McDonald / SMP 2014


Awareness of every detail of life is mentally taxing. My mind feels scattered. How do we provide ourselves with a mental vacation from the impetuous demands of everyday life? For me, time ceases to exist when I paint. I am no longer aware of every small distraction. My mind no longer wanders and I am not required to multitask; rather, I am focused, present, and attentive. Painting is a form of gaining a mental balance by removal of distractions.

My process is my subject matter. Thus, my paintings live and breathe only when I am actively engaged with their creation. The paintings come to life by building layers of unique color combinations. I methodically place strips of masking tape onto the surface of the picture plane in a linear orientation. When I remove the tape, the painting evolves into something else; it changes the way a living thing is always changing. I find that the repetitive use of the same linear shape enhances my ability to maintain focus because I am eliminating the element of choice, and purely focusing on the act of painting.

My color choices tend to be bold and optically active. They are placed into an orientation that creates visual tension through vibrational movements reminiscent of “hypnotic” images. I am unsure as to whether the visual experience is a means to enter a trance-like state of mind or if my own color perception is altered due to a trance-like state of mind.