The fascination of the abstract
Michelle Prazak creates a geometrical, plastic language, particularly interested on imaginary, sensorial and perceptive aspects, through the exploration of concepts such as time and space.
Michelle has always been fascinated by the human capacity of perceiving and visualizing, by the relativity and subjectivity of perception. This is why she finds oriental philosophy interesting, since it is based upon the principles of the unconscious collective, cosmology, physics, matter, and energy travel through time and space, and expresses these through her artwork. “I think that there is no separation between art and my life, and it is what keeps me constantly motivated,” she states.
Michelle explores visual and sensorial perception, in other words, the means through which reality is perceived. She uses abstraction to investigate the aspect of illusion, relativity and subjectivity as a part of the game of perception. She investigates about the spots in time and space that determine our perspective, our physical and mental point of view. Space is, for her, “a multidimensional mirror of our mind.”
She is interested in spatial relationships, in the tension created between a flat surface and the illusion of a tri-dimensional space as an attempt to question perception and propose alternative visual ties to the human eye. Also, immediacy and the capacity of painting to renew and reorganize the viewer’s perception in essential ways. This is why her work is appreciated as a structural extension between painting and sculpting; in other words, a bond between a flat and a tri-dimensional world.
In Prazak’s artwork, the figure of the viewer plays an important role, since it permanently questions the renewal of her perception through the painting. Her pieces interact with the viewer’s experience, they change the way he sees, and establishes a direct bond with him. The artist wishes to offer a universal experience, by interfering directly on the structure, color, and shape experience of the viewer.
Her work is not a mere reduction of form to geometrical design. Her pieces are loaded with content and try to drive the audience to a powerful place that echoes with poetical strength, even though it is marked by the current time of the painting.
A creation’s starting point is produced in an intuitive and spontaneous way, following the clues that appear without controlling or discriminating. Such as Picasso stated: “Inspiration exists, but it has to reach to you while you are working.” Michelle permanently takes pictures, scribbles, draws, sketches, plays with paper, with shapes, with wooden blocks, among others. Then, once she is satisfied by the shape encountered, a second realization stage begins: the developing of a composition that keeps her on a state of tension between a flat surface, and the illusion of a tri-dimensional space. A frontier line is created, in which she becomes the only intermediary.
The final stage implies the act of painting, playing with light and color; creating, mixing and finding the exact tone, emphasizing on shapes, creating the illusion of movement on the different levels of space. It is a slow process that requires several attempts. Her pieces are created with oil paintings, enamel, and varnish. She lets us see, for some moments, a simple pencil line, and during others, she mixes different types of painting in one creation to produce a more significant contrast on its surface. Prazak permanently finds herself searching for subtle differences in the surfaces and qualities of material. These contrasts become her language, appearing in an intuitive and spontaneous way.
This artist considers Italian masters of Trecento and Quattrocento: Fra Angelico, Giotto and Cimabue, a creative influence over her work, due to their compositions and their subtle, yet precise, use of color and trace. Also in Joseph Albers due to his informal study of shape and perception; for his visual investment, and investigation on dynamics and color relativity. She is also influenced by looms and geometrical designs made by pre-Colombian tribes from Peru, among others. Her work has been synthetized and has understood that the key of the abstract language, particularly geometrical, is what allows it to naturally flow and communicate. Even though her artwork has changed, she has explored the same concepts and ideas for more than fifteen years.
Michelle is an intuitive and receptive artist. She does not get carried away by market tendencies. She is a permanent student that enjoys every productive step. Being an artist means to be open to anything, willing to make connections when things occur, and open to constant inspiration. “From a stain on the floor to a stick endorsed on a wall, from the text of a book to a reflection in the window. Everything is, to me, a possible source of inspiration.”
An artist, to Prazak, is a medium, a recipient that can translate her own languages without controlling the process, and also let go and amaze the viewer through the potentiality of every existing thing. In this sense, art is, for Michelle, a manifestation and materialization of the immaterial. It is the consciousness of being able to observe, make connections, create and permanently transform information, in order to register it afterwards. It is a learning and understanding process: a mirror of the own artist. It is also a tool that allows speaking of all those things that cannot be put into words, and understanding the immensity and infinity of the space we inhabit, in order to translate it into something tangible.
This is why her artwork is compounded by plans that create ideas about movement and spatial relationships that allow playing with light, color, and contrasts, creating a language of its own. A language that arises from uninterrupted, tenacious work carried out for years, as a product of curiosity, of fascination towards artistic creation.