My artwork is a series of rule-based projects beginning with simple forms and gestures and testing their tolerance for change. The environment, evolution, the coalescing of accreted marks to form structure, interior life: my thinking is expressed in these works through action, process, doing and undoing. What does the life of a moment look like? What does it look like as it moves to the next moment?

The materials I work with start with a quality of being random — paper coffee cups, magazines, natural materials, etc. — and through the processes of artmaking become specific. It’s about paying attention as I generate certain moves in a game.

Magazines, in stacks and piles, present a kind of compressed kaleidoscopic experience. A pile of old reading and ads can be peeled open at different depths. You could dive into time past and your imagination would be glad for the exercise, but your heart might need to work up to it. There are so many ways to read into this material: open it up, tear through, map its lines, mirror them; make fabric from it to catch the light at different times of the day.

The paper coffee cups represent so many attempts to wake up, to sharpen the mind, to share a moment, or kill time. Touched by human lips, held by human hands, they represent specific moments of shared and/or interior life: the most personal and chaotic emotions, memories and delusions. The stories you tell me over that cup of coffee, I wouldn’t believe if I hadn’t just heard them.

My drawing series begins with nature’s annual edition of fallen leaves as they decompose and take on new forms and structures. I need to stoke my optimism stores which are depleted after contemplating our effect on the environment. I turn to nature’s detritus to learn from its regenerative cycles of life and death: nature’s stuff is mass-produced and mass-discarded too, yet the process is nourishing and reaffirming. How do I make a move forward that takes me into the future with optimism?

Eva Mantell 2016

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