STATEMENT BY AMY KOOL
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon Series
My recent series is inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon . When spring finally arrives, forcing winter’s unmissed retirement, my thoughts and imagination turn to budding , flowering gardens, leaf- filled trees and prima vera (first green) of fields, parks and lawns. Is it any wonder , then, that I envision one of the seven wonders of the world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon also known as the Hanging Gardens of Semiramis, as an inspiration for my own persona l tribute to spring, the universal metaphor for hope and promise of better times ahead – extremely relative to the times we are living in.
The Hanging Gardens, near present-day Al Hillah, Babil in Iraq – were terraces of flowers, shrubs and trees built row upon row on the slopes of a mountain, irrigated by water lying on the foot of the ascent – built by Nebuchadnezzer to pleasure his ailing wife around 600 BCE. Though not in existence today – some historians attribute the Garden’s absence to earth quakes, other s doubt if the Seventh Wonder was a work of poetic imagination rather than engineering.
My paintings on velvet are abstractions of trees, flowers, shrubs,using sizes, lines, color and shapes based on the images of the Hanging Gardens. Not unlike maps, the paintings are also aerial views of what the gardens might have looked like if you were viewing them from the sky as your plane descends.
The Mandala Series
My 2007-2008 series of paintings are inspired from Mandalas that artists from around the world have created, past and present – circular structures, painted on canvas, a tribute to the ancient belief s that Mandalas could inspire spiritual awareness and could be used to heal physical and psychological ailments and depict cycles of life. Working on circular surfaces prompted me to see color and patterns in a totally different light – as there are no beginnings or endings to the paintings. They are combinations of paint and collage, which I created on a on a rotating wheel for the sake of symmetry.
The Red Lantern Series
Inspired by a recent trip in a taxi across the Brooklyn Bridge one night in April , The Red Lantern Series consists of collages which I created with scraps of antique Japanese Kimono fabrics, found objects and assorted papers on canvas. My friend and I witnessed a film shoot taking place beneath the Brooklyn Bridge which was visually astonishing . and yet moving. There were bright red lanterns strung between the buildings of an entire street . Illumined , and bared by cameras, this exotic scene was heightened by gold confetti tossed from the roof tops, just as in a ticker – tape victory parade. So unexpected and magical , the red lantern exhibit made my friend and me feel we had dreamt rather than experienced the event.
An artist working and living in NYC, I believe it is important to explore different materials, found objects., new techniques. My goal is to create art that is unusual, inspires serenity of the soul and promote spiritual awareness. I embrace the concept of modernism fully but at the same time maintain a sense of historical awareness, the richness and science of color and pattern in the belief that work can be important, profound yet still possess elements of beauty.