Artist statement

Hazel Griffiths

Originally from the Shropshire and Herefordshire areas in the UK and am now based in south Florida.

I am a mixed media artist working mostly in oils/ acrylics, encaustic wax and metal leaf. I like to create a mixture of surface textures between smooth and almost 3-dimensional with natural fibers, encaustic wax and other materials that create an interesting and unique surface. Most of my recent work is figurative mixed media. Usually the figures in these pieces are smooth and 2-dimensional rendered in oil or acrylic, yet in a slight optical illusion, seem to stand in front of the textured background. I also work with a lot of metal leaf which reflects light differently to other materials, creating a magical effect of light as if it were the source of the reflected light you see shining off it, enchanting its surface. Sometimes the background will be in metal leaf and the figure in oil so it seems as though the figure is stepping out of the light. In other pieces the subject is sometimes dissolving into shards of reflective metal leaf on a dark background.

Most of the figurative pieces start off as a photoshoot on location, usually outside in a natural environment. As it is impractical to have someone posing outside for any length of time so I may paint them, the very process of painting after the scene has been photographed, can sometimes become an act of remembering or dreaming the feeling of being there: how the sun splinters through the trees, how it falls on the subject, the quality of the light and how it felt to be there, even how the air smelled! So these paintings represent the impression or the memory of the feeling of the place and time. The figures themselves seem also to be caught in the memory of the place, conjuring up a dream of it around themselves as they lay there! And for me personally, the work incorporates the memories of my childhood landscapes of hills, forests and wild hedgerows.

Much of my recent work has been an exploration of spirituality and consciousness: my subjects seem to be caught in a state or process of transcendence, metamorphosis or transition between the physical and the spiritual. Or in a state of an awakening, they dissolve in fragments of gold or in a beam of powdered light as if transitioning to another plane of existence. Or subjects are immersed or rendered in the medium of a dream or memory: the dissolution between the body and the imagination, as with the ‘forest’ series, as if through thought and memory, they become part of and dissolve into their surroundings.