CYNTHIA WINIKA

ARTIST'S STATEMENT
I’m a multi media artist based in the Hudson River Valley. I have always worked on a couple of projects at the same time to keep things interesting and to avoid getting stuck. My artist statements spring from the projects. Lately I’ve been interested in abstraction.

Abstraction plays a role in my work as the bones of the intuitive, visual, non-verbal arrangement of elements with which I choose to make an image. My approach has been influenced by my study of Art: Western, since childhood, and Eastern, since young adulthood. Mix the two and I get the way I work. In my Chinese Well pieces I start with large paper and blow up fireworks on the surface. It leaves smoke, burn tracings and deposits colorful chemistry as the exploding fireworks spin around on the paper. This makes for random marks: subtle and sometimes blatant. These are a spring board ground for juxtaposing and arranging my figurative drawings, paintings, transfers, and found papers/objects. I juggle them around until they fall into place. This is where they belong or want to be…guided by my informed intuition. Then I adhere with wax medium to fix in place. The wax holds and protects the chemistry particles, and collaged additions both front and back of the paper. The paper becomes skin-like and translucent with the saturating beeswax and the imagery is read from behind and in front of the paper. I can then add further layers of imagery or text to make it all more dense.

Similar thought processes go into the Accidental Mycologist work. Starting in my own backyard, I’ve found fungi of so many classes the beauty of which is astounding. Neither plant nor animal, the strange fruiting bodies of these mushrooms emerge from the earth, attached to and feeding off the earth, roots, trees, rotting leaves, animals, even other mushrooms. These gathered specimens can be used to make art, much to my delight. I find them year round, even in the dead of winter.

The basidiomycetes make delicate spore prints arranged and left cap down on an encaustic panel without disturbing, overnight. The colors of the spore prints are unique in white, cream, pink, buff, dark brown and eggplant purple; their powdery slowly built up ridges defined minimally in bas relief with the falling spores. When fused slowly in the sun, they lose their color and look almost like a 3-D solarized photograph but are fixed in the beeswax ready for more additions.

In addition to working on the basidiomycetes, I have experimented with other fungi and leaf mold spore prints for this body of work.

I joined the mid Hudson Mycological Association to attend lectures, slide shows, foraging walks….a wonderful experience with like minded geeks. Not only using the mushrooms for art, but for culinary purposes, and inspiring just plain awe at the number, varieties and beauty of these delicate specimens.

I keep thinking my results look like looking up at the sky on a dark night in an isolated place….like my backyard. The prints are from the basidiomycetes, so close to the earth, but look like the heavens. These spores are encapsulated in wax for eternity. Maybe some one will germinate them someday?

CV