For the past twenty years I have been exploring the terrain and forests near my rural studio. I have discovered the abstract shapes in rocks, trees, boulders, mosses, bones, fungi, tree bark, leaves and branches. Textures and muted colors found in lichen and stones find their way into my work, lines seen in rocks emerge in my drawings. Moving, filtered light makes it all come alive to me.
I experience nature as a living thing, which I hope to portray abstractly, microscopically, and macroscopically, my goal is to convey that which is not seen, but what I feel in response to it. The forms are internalized through direct observation; in the studio, the memory of what I have seen takes form in my work.
My working process is largely intuitive, with an additive-subtractive approach. The works have many layers of paint, which is often scraped and gouged into with graphite. Paint is added, wiped out, replaced, changed many times in a reductive process in which I attempt to discover the essence of what I have experienced.
Arlene Santana Thornton's paintings and drawings have been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows in museums and galleries in the U.S. and Europe for more than 20 years. She completed her BFA at Florida International University in Miami, she then returned to New York for graduate studies in art and humanities at New York University, as well as further work at The Art Students League of New York with Richard Pousette-Dart. Ms. Santana lived and worked for five years in Italy studying the Italian language, arts and culture at the Dante Alighieri School in Rome. Her work has been exhibited at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, has been reviewed and published in numerous art and literary magazines, and received media coverage by ABC and NBCTV. Her travels in Europe have included Italy, Germany, England, Spain, Malta and France, with other sojourns to Russia, Japan and South America. Color, light, textures, and memories internalized from these experiences continue to inform her paintings and drawings.