First published: Spring 2009
Looking at the art of Christine Sefolosha one is immediately drawn into the cycle of life, from womb to earth, from animal to man, from waking life to the dream state, from the poetry of the paraphysical to the brutal reality of nature’s way. Peering at unforeseen juxtapositions of life and death, at the paradox of omnipresent fragility and force, we are a little uneasy, a bit confused, confronted as we are with the harsh, unsentimental truth of our existence. Moved by the startling beauty of these primal images, and by the rush of feelings and associations that fill us, we know instinctively and wholeheartedly that we are in the presence of a master artist, seer and storyteller.
One of the predominant currents in Sefolosha’s body of work to date is a decidedly animist worldview. Birds and animals are majestic beings to be respected, revered and emulated. With a sensitivity most often found in members of tribal societies, Sefolosha gives us the essence of her expressionistic creatures – their soul – revealing an uncanny affinity with authentic animal nature.
The examples are many. Over a decade ago she gave us Metamorphosis in Blue, an arresting painting in which what appears to be a lamb/horse in a fetal position has a beak jutting out of its right shoulder. We wonder whether the creature, positioned in a muddy blue wash, is floating in its placenta, whether the hoofed animal is in fact morphing from its ancient bird ancestry, or whether the composite being is dead in the water. As ambiguity becomes clarity, transformation is right before our eyes, and we embrace the mystery of the shamanistic message. Moving agilely between what Carlos Castaneda would describe as ‘ordinary reality’ and ‘nonordinary reality’, Sefolosha presents us with a combination of the real and the mythic.