Mara Szalajda

I see my role as a painter not as a guide but an observer; less of a participator who seeks to influence change than one who takes in and presents what I see. I seek connections between what is natural and what is man-made. My use of geometry is the humanization of the natural world. Mondrian chose the essential elements; I choose to explore the complexity of the same world. I see the world as created by what is found in nature. As humans are cognizant of only what we, in our given, fixed and therefore limited way; so we create our world. Those things that do not exist in nature are perceived and fashioned by our human-ness. They are created by our relationship to our environment.

Our ability to create in our world, things that move further and further away from what nature provides is why we exist separately from our animal counterparts. We can create a straight line that is far straighter than lines that exist in nature. A mirror would not exist without our experience of seeing reflections in water. Architectural structures would not rise without our knowledge of the upward growth of plants. Artificial light would not have been conceived of were it not for the light of the sun.

All imagery found in art as well as all human creation is derived from the natural, visible world. In art, it is not always used to recreate the world as in realist painting and sculpture. It is digested and worked into other forms at the discretion of the artist, designer or technician. Piet Mondrian, for example, used geometric forms to depict the essence of the natural world – the horizontal and the vertical. He saw these essences as guides to a future, utopian world.

As there are truths in these connections, so there are truths concerning the cycles of the natural world. They guide our human experience by giving our lives order and explaining our cycle of life and death. As the blossoming of a flower and its bearing of seed is related to the human reproductive cycle, so is the sunrise and sunset related to the life and death cycle. These things aid me in explaining why things are as they are and make existence bearable and meaningful. As there are an infinite number of connections that can be found, so are the meanings and metaphors in my paintings varied. What I seek to express cannot be pinned down to one specific meaning in any given painting. Geometry affords me the richness of choice.