For the month of June, we are exhibiting paintings by Omar Arason. I asked Omar some questions regarding his work:
Are your paintings influenced by any contemporary artists?
The short answer is yes. Though in the past few years I’ve found it to be too distracting to look at too many artists, as it inevitable makes me question my work too much and I begin to wonder if I’m referencing or ripping off other painters. I’m more able to focus on my work if I’m working in a self-prescribed artistic vacuum…That being said, I regularly go on visual “binges of exploration, desperately searching out contemporary works that inspire me. More often than not the works I am drawn to tend to be of northern European origin – for some reason there is a sensibility there that I am drawn to. Dieter Roth is someone I find myself continually intrigued by (though not a contemporary), perhaps because of his relentless productivity and his ability to integrate his studio life with his family life (a hurdle I am striving to overcome at this time).
Sexuality is a very major re-occurring theme in a majority of my work. I’ve always felt that sexuality and “sex drive” play such a huge role in our lives, whether we admit it or not, and it has always intrigued me because I find it to be such a complex and powerful phenomenon that is occurring on every level of our being – from our deepest subconscious to our most wakeful and aware mind – no matter that a significant portion of society seems to think we have “transcended” sexuality, despite all contradictory evidence. I believe it has remained important in my work because I use the paintings as an arena to work out my own thoughts, internal conflicts, fears, and of course; desires. I don’t have a clear “agenda” or reason for returning to this theme, but it ties in with my interest in the writings of Sigmund Freud, whom I find to be extremely fun, if not helpful, in analyzing and theorizing about my own work – post production.
I’d have to admit that my process has not changed significantly. I think it has become more refined and ingrained, with more second guessing my choices, as there is no-one around to do that for me. So, I guess it’s more the thought-processes that have changed, as well as the motivation – I somehow used to think it was about pleasing others and getting a thumbs up. Now I do it because it’s what I love to do (though if people appreciate my work, that IS a nice icing).