Edward Arena is a practicing artist out of Utica, NY. His work has been showcased and awarded in several juried exhibitions and can be found in multiple collections. Working primarily in mixed media, his pieces are visually exciting and highly unique, bringing together a sense of realism and abstraction.
My work is mixed media (charcoal, house paint, and acrylic) on paper. The human figure is the focus of my work, which is rendered through a combination of painting, writing, and reductive drawing. The writing in my work plays a crucial role in the development of my conceptual ideas, as well as the visual aesthetics. The writing, which acts as the primary tool in the reductive process of my drawings, creates a sense of space and depth within the composition, allowing the figure to emerge from within this environment while simultaneously being immersed and held within it. This tension between the figure and the surrounding elements creates a sense of ambiguity between realism and abstraction in my work, engaging the viewer on an unconscious and psychological level.
My desire has been to investigate this tension and balance between these two conflicting processes. Utilizing techniques developed in psychoanalysis, the writing is a combination of free association and shorthand writing. Through quick, overlapping, and successive writing and mark-making, an element of chance and spontaneity enters my work. Through these methods, I am able to examine the unconscious mind further and begin an introspective examination of my reality.
The combination of controlled actions and unpredictability allows for self-expression, as well as a unique visual experience for the viewer. My intent is to engage and confront the viewer on a psychological level, allowing them to become immersed in my work and imagined reality. The viewer is now able to self-reflect and begin their own internal dialogue about themselves and their unique reality.