Dana Roes received her MFA in Painting from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993 where she developed her interest in abstraction as a means of creating psychological/intellectual spaces which suggest that the nature of reality is interactive and changeable. Her current body of work, “Threshold”, was created during a tumultuous period of transition. These paintings speak of the in-between: neither coming nor going, material nor immaterial, they evoke the satisfaction that can be found in transit and allow the viewer to become comfortable with the uncomfortable state of ambiguity before arrival.
My journey of making paintings has been about traversing paths, both exterior and interior. My concerns have led me to create psychological /intellectual space, which evoke the idea, found in quantum physics that the nature of reality is interactive and changeable. Fundamental to my process and thoughts has been the concept of the whole hole ([w]hole), the notion of completeness in emptiness.
While I was engaged with making “the red body” my concerns were with exploring the relationship between the front and back of the canvas in order to expose what is inside and what is outside of the body. This materiality allowed me to use space to interrogate memory. In order to read these paintings, the viewer had to imagine herself being able to turn to the painting’s other side. This process of imagining provoked memory. The possibility of moving to the other side invited the ability to recall what one had just seen. (How did the view of the front of the canvas resonate to the back and vice versa? What did it mean to “be here”? How did what was presented coincide with, and/or, push away from the present?).
Over the years, my work evolves and moves in and out of physical space, from paintings to sculpture and installation. Exploring the relationship of self to my surroundings, I discover displacement. It is this feeling of displacement that pushes me forward, challenges my thoughts and creates visual form. “What Is Matter”, is more of an exploration of the physicality of life. Memories that we hold on to that no longer serve us, that then get recorded and stored in our cells or expelled.
“What Is Matter”, has a whimsical, light appearance. However, when looked at closer, the viewer will discover anxiety, tension and incompleteness. The paths evoke a nervous energy that serves as a reminder of the temporal qualities of life: time wasted, as well as the pace of daily life. They are about unsuccessful systems and foundations that are breaking down, screens of information, something lacking cohesion …a lie.
The newest body of work, entitled “THRESHOLD”, speaks of the in-between: neither coming nor going, material nor immaterial, they evoke the satisfaction that can be found in transit; allowing the viewer to become comfortable with the uncomfortable state of ambiguity before arrival. I also understand these paintings to be about detachment; the squirming discomfort of movement and the relief found in release. I can only suspect that I will continue to investigate space and my place within it. Ideally, I wish to convey a sense of integration of the mental with the physical, evoke a coexistence with the here and other, and to momentarily experience the non-tangible.