Working Through the Body


I have not always painted. For most of my youth, I dreamt of being a poet. Powerful feelings distilled into brief and poignant words could ripple out far beyond the scope of what was written. Poetry does not have to make sense. Often, the less obvious sense it makes, the more meaning and breadth it might contain. Writing, I could turn reality over on its head, intentionally subverting what I thought I knew. This is a kind of spiritual practice. But while words can aid us in dismantling false concepts of reality and discovering the web of interconnectivity, they fell short of my desire for its essence, a knowing in the heart.

This is when my practice turned inward. Through intentional movement and meditation, I found myself tuning in to a reality not visible to the eyes. Through the body, this subtle, inner realm is accessed and speaks to us in a language of eternity. This is the language that emerges when I dance, when I love, when I paint.

On this path, words turned to abstract marks and my movements began laying a trail of breadcrumbs out from this center. Painting in the abstract was a means for me to access what cannot be found in the world, which is not referenced by word or image. It is a power that churns at the core of all things and it sets my body, my arms, into motion.

My practice of painting is a spiritual one. Letting go of the ego’s will to control an outcome, the process is about discovery, of honoring what’s beyond my human abilities. The gauge of my personal evolution is the extent to which I can be present with the piece, ugly or beautiful, and allow it to have its own breath, its own message. It is a reflection of me only in so much as I can witness myself in communication with it, the thoughts that arise, the feelings evoked, the impulse to continue.

What results is a shift in consciousness. The painting is like a map of that experience which is not a map at all, but a talisman, charged with the energies of that shift. The beauty of the work emanates from the openness of this dialogue, which continues throughout the realms of my life and the homes of my collectors.

Olimpia Piccoli