Title: “A Butterfly: Portland Grays, Light Leaks, and Subtle Rainbows”
Size: Original is 36” x 48”
Medium: Oil on canvas
Artist: By Dominique Kongsli
About this work of art:
A butterfly is a symbol of hope as it flutters on the breeze. They are symbols of transformation and they are often our first explanations of the meaning of transformation that we learned in kindergarten as we watch a butterfly transform from a caterpillar when it emerges from a chrysalis. To paint this without color is to acknowledge that something is missing and something has been drained from the collective soul of our society.
A Life Without Color series is my artistic wrestling with the aggregate dysfunction of our society amidst a global pandemic. This series seeks to address the reality of our country amidst the pandemic and the grave realities of racial inequality in America. My heart aches for Black mothers...I want my artwork to do something...I want it to say, “I see your pain, it’s not fair and it’s not right, and I’m here for you.” I want it to work for Black mothers. I pledge to do more than live the status quo while Black mothers endure injustice. This is for you, Oregon, a city reckoning with civil unrest. This is for all the moms who had a baby in the pandemic. This is for the stressed, the stretched. This is for my heroes. This is for the unknown and the not yet born. This is for hope, and for a future. This is for you.
One of the special things about this panting are the layers. We all have them. It’s the gathering of years, milestones, and losses. It’s the mountain tops and the valleys and the endless stretches of days in between. Layers create texture, which creates depth. Living authentically means that it would be impossible to deny the events that shape texture on the canvas of our lives. Layers tell a story and sharing that story creates beauty and culture which make life worth living.
This painting tackles some very moving and deep issues in life, and it is full of commanding presence. Areas in this painting are painted with iridescent pigment to capture the light, and they shift with the morning and evening sun. When direct light is placed on the painting, it absolutely DANCES with light. The feeling of this piece is one of and grounding energy due to the symmetry and emphasis of the butterfly wings. The patterns found in the wings of the butterfly are energizing and eye-catching, yet the cool colors and the flowing, abstract background provide rest and reprieve for the eyes and the soul.
The largely monochromatic variety of grays are a backdrop for the subtle rainbows placed throughout the painting. They are like prisms of light which dance into the room in all their brilliance from windows or a diamond ring. They are a reminder of God’s promise amidst our pain, of the beauty that diversity brings, and that we are more beautiful together as we sing in harmony together.
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