… it would begin when she was about 13 years old, and her mother recognised that those unusual patterns on her sketching were a potential of uniqueness that would require the guidance of art lessons to reveal a talent that had a great deal of deep rooted thought to share with the world.
Words Sonali Kadurugamuwa Photographs Menaka Aravinda
Today, art means to Rochelle Motha, what realism of oneself means to the world. After her higher studies in the Fine Arts and spending time working as a graphic designer and also with photography, “here I am now,” she says, observing herself as the “true self”- “true artist” she has become.
As a young artist, Rochelle found that she needed the kind of gratification from her art that would portray her inner soul; with this she would challenge the very being of who she was. Her love of reading had made Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung her closest gurus into a realm of the workings of unconscious thinking and perception.
“Inspiration to me came through an immense amount of reading and writing,” as Rochelle explains, that she loved and enjoyed every minute with her books and also her words on paper. According to her, “it’s a whole mind process,” which influenced the manner of her artistry.
In her newest production the ‘Good Truth’ she paints about the people she has met, the communication levels explored and the dealing with issues that have not completely been dealt with, within herself, people around her and relationships – “it’s just a creation of all that together,” says Rochelle.
“Nature never really inspired me,” she says. Her stimulation was from what she read and whatever had poked and prodded her into a state of mind, which she was able to project through into her painting.
After nearly ten years of being away from Sri Lanka, Rochelle came back to find a bout of revelation that struck her like a wondrous explosion, which she believes came from the people she met, “I went back and I painted and painted.” It was her strongest pieces yet to occupy her collection of paintings in the ‘Good Truth’.
Talking about one of her most favorite creations, ‘Now Breathe,’ and quoting Carl Jung, she explains, “only if I remain an ordinary human being, conscious of my incompleteness, can I become receptive to significant contents and processes of the unconscious.” Basically, it is about letting oneself go and as soon as he/she exhales – will be prepared to express reality.
These pieces of work are drawn from her inspiration from billboards and she feels that the two together work really well. Because billboards are all about the ready-mades, when you have the unconscious that portrays the reality of everything, “and when you kind of marry the two…they are you. ‘Now Breathe’ is about taking your whole self in.”
When asked about the use of writing blended into her paintings, Rochelle finds that words may penetrate a person’s conscience than the visual alone. Typography, she adds, “jolts your mind and carries a message” that may or may not be similar to what another person is thinking, however, her art as a whole, “would be a message, definite or not, that will last.”
Although Rochelle’s paintings span from post-modernism to conceptual to minimalistic or a combination of all of these, she feels that the process of art, for her, has always been in transition, “in the case of Van Gogh, he started completely with realism of day-to-day life and then he went into a very abstract mode of painting.” She doesn’t consider herself to be placed in a particular category or era of artistry, instead – a culmination of all epochs. “No matter what you do, at the end of it, I think you boil down to this tiny little atom, which is you. I feel that is the foundation of anything that you do.”
Speaking about her future endea-vours, Rochelle has been invited to exhibit her collection at a gallery in Brussels. For now, the ‘Good Truth’ exhibition, with pieces, “depicting conflict and harmony of humanity and divinity,” will be on show at the Barefoot Gallery in Colombo, from July 10-29, 2010.