Cecelia Feld

Art can't save the world. It may make the world a better place by illuminating, provoking, persuading or inspiring.

My work, whether in painting, printmaking or collage is about exploring relationships through abstraction. Bits and pieces form my visual experiences, bump up against each other and get sorted out. There are references in my work to the textures, colors, lines, and shapes of things in the real world. The layering or unfolding of shapes, punctuations or expanses of color or character of a line order the picture plane. Sometimes the abstract images allude to natural forms. It's in the eye of the beholder.

The collagraph and monotype prints often become the basis for the collages. They may be background or foreground and provide texture and color, which play off against shapes of found paper added to the collage. Old prints are "repurposed" and cut up. An acrylic painting on paper might be the foundation for a newly created collage.

The relationship of visual components in my work is similar to that which happens in jazz. I listen to an eclectic mix of music while I work with jazz in the mix. While I don't have a favorite jazz musician I respond to the improvisation and theme and variation common to much of jazz music. I ask myself "what if . . .?", "why not . . .?" or "how about . . .?" What if I limit my color palette, what if I work in a more minimal way or how about excessive exuberance? Large or small? Paint or paper? Or both? As soon as an element is added the whole thing changes. The relationships become something new to be reckoned with. Anything can spark an idea—something seen, heard, imagined. The results are unexpected and even though I may have some idea of the general direction, like jazz, there can be many twists and turns along the way before a work is finished. The result is often the impetus for the next stage of my art making journey.

An ongoing project is the construction of collages on marbled paper, which I make using the Japanese Suminagashi marbling technique. A group of these collages incorporates haiku, a form of Japanese poetry. Haiku poems on Japanese marbled paper seemed like a good combination. To make the project collaborative I asked friends to send me original haikus. The collage incorporates the haiku words cut from my monotype and collagraph prints with pencil and pastels added. The series satisfied my desire to use words as part of a visual statement, while maintaining the integrity of the poem and reaching out to include other participants. It enabled me to connect with people who are familiar with my work and wanted to participate in making it.

Travel fuels my imagination. Sights, sounds, order, and chaos find their way into my art. I have a large collection of maps which I photograph and print. I cut them up and incorporate them into collages as in the series "Have Map Will Travel." My "Underfoot" series of photographs is the result of my fascination with street markings. Looking down can be rewarding! I find the marks have an abstract quality all their own. The images are either straight photos or cut up and incorporated into a collage.

My studios are my refuge, whether in the hustle and bustle of Dallas or the tranquility of my North Texas farm (a.k.a. Woodcreek Ranch). My farm studio gives me the peace and quiet that encourages contemplation and experimentation. I have TIME—to reflect, to consider, to act. I look out and see flowerbeds, trees, pastures, and ponds. I see ducks, geese, and rabbits. The purple martins, who magically appear each spring, sing to me. The trail through the woods offers a constantly changing world of flora and fauna. I photograph here in all seasons. The photos capture a moment in time framed by the viewfinder. It's very different than the additive and subtractive process of painting, printmaking or collage but I am still dealing with line, shape, space, texture and color.

Each step, expected or unexpected, is the impetus to continue the journey of exploration. All the emotions are there: anxiety, elation, thrills, disappointment, you name it. Serendipity is the hallmark of my work. I love the unpredictability of working with paint, paper, ink, and plate.

Cecelia Feld grew up in New York City and received her BA from Hunter College, N.Y. in 1963. She moved to Dallas in 1969, receiving an MFA in 1976 from the University of North Texas. Cecelia has exhibited her paintings, drawings, prints and photographs in juried and invitational exhibits throughout the United States. She has had numerous solo exhibitions, and her artwork is in many private and corporate collections including Frito-Lay, Inc., IBM and Delta Airlines. Cecelia is the recipient of a MacDowell Colony Visual Artist Fellowship. She also received a Fellowship in Printmaking at the Vermont Studio Center in 1997. Travel, near and far, has always provided inspiration for Cecelia's artwork. Through painting, printmaking, collage and photography she interprets the world around her with line, shape, color and texture.