Masha Keating

Art has always been a very strong part of my identity. My grandfather was a great influence on me in the early years. He ran a small art school in Moscow and was a respected water color painter. After coming to America with my family in 1991, having a direction and a passion for art helped me overcome those confusing first years in a new country.

In my work, along with exploring the visual elements found in the external world of nature, I also focus on the feelings and internal states of consciousness that accompany life’s moments of change and transformation. As I implement abstract elements like colorful undulating shapes and lines weaving throughout the painting, I think of the weaving tapestry of life’s paths that we encounter and navigate.

As I work, I look for a certain vitality and energy in the final painting, which is why I always have been attracted to vivid colors and meandering lines. I like to have a lot of information in the painting for the viewer’s eye to move freely and never get bored. Sometimes I have human figures interacting with pod-like shapes as well as images of embryos encased in floral pods representing potential and nurture.

With only a few exceptions I gravitate towards working on a large scale. I love the all-encompassing gestural freedom I feel when I work on a large canvas, and the playability of oil allows me to easily make changes in my painting as I work. Transformation and spontaneous change are a part of my work process as well as my subject matter. After I start with an idea that inspires me, the painting inevitably takes a turn, then another and another. Although it is often difficult to let go of my original vision, my job is to embrace those changes because I know it is a way towards a better piece of art.

Making art reminds me of how important it is to submit to the flow of life and let go of my expectations and demands. I always enjoy the process of collaboration between the painting and myself. The highlight of the journey is discovering the final result that my initial inspiration brings about.