Photo Credit: Ron Cooley
Paula Cooley and Paige Mortensen’s collaborative project, Solari, had its start with an intangible question that intrigued them both: how to evoke the experience of a meditative walk in the forest within the confines of a gallery space? As they grappled with the questions of how to suggest a natural outdoor environment indoors, Paula and Paige quickly recognized the strength of working together to create new work. Each brought diverse craft knowledge, traditions, materials and skills. Paige, as a watercolour batik artist, is interested in texture and portraying on paper the softness of moss, the crunch of leaves or the roughness of wood. Paula, as a ceramic artist, hand builds organic sculptures that seem to grow and move, shaping and animating the space around them. Taking their respective materials of paper, wax, watercolour, thread, clay, oxides and adding the element of light, Paige and Paula created from scratch, Solari, an unique mixed media piece that neither would have made on their own.
Solari, is a contemplative piece intended for a quiet and dimly lit space. The work provides the viewer with an opportunity to leave the busyness of everyday life, regroup and breathe, even for a minute or two. People are invited to move in closer to see the varying colours of the batik painted papers, the textured ceramic stumps and stones, and the delicacy of thread leaves, all lit with varying degrees of illumination from below.