Hadar Frey

Beyond the Surface

Senior Project December 2013


     My show is inspired by a combination of the Surrealist style and my interpretation of the Celtic’s beliefs.  Surrealism is a way to bring different symbols together from the conscious and unconscious mind in a complete way so that the world of dream and fantasy can be joined.    Many of the surrealist artists often use different symbolisms to convey a message or an idea; Dali was driven from his subconscious and Magritte was using symbols from his personal life.  Celtic people had a sacred belief in trees and they saw them as ancestors of humans. The most sacred of trees (center of their communities), were the Oak and the Ash, both of which were believed to possess the special qualities required for The Tree of Life.  The Celts believed that its branches reached toward heaven, the trunk was the connection to the physical world, and the roots were doorways to the underworld.  They also had an entire tree-belief-system, where each tree was believed to possess special qualities.

The Surrealist style has long been a part of my work and I have consistently used different symbols to reflect my reality.  An example is the tree of life; it is a strong and important symbol in my belief system.  I have recreated in many different ways my most commonly used symbols of the woman’s figure and trees.  In each work I have made a connection between the woman’s figure and the tree.  I often find myself wondering why I keep creating these images and if there might be hidden meaning behind it.  In exploring these topics, I found a common denominator in the Celtic’s ideas and my own.  I started to see my obsession with my most common symbols as something that can be explained in a very spiritual way.   I can now see more clearly this strong connection that exists between trees and humans as being the foundation of my work.  My show is inspired by the Celtic belief system and uses their ideas and symbols while adding my own personal take on them.  My works hold the characteristics of the Surrealistic style, and they have different repetitive symbols that come together to tell a story.  They combine ancient ideas with my own ideas and create something new and beautiful out of them.  Each painting gives the viewer the opportunity to look beyond the surface and see something introspective.

My show consists of 4 large-scale paintings, each incorporating a tree as a main focal point in the composition.  By creating large-scale paintings I intended to give the viewer the feeling of looking at a real tree.   Under each painting there is a short explanation regarding the meaning of each specific tree within the Celtic’s beliefs.  My vision is that each viewer will look at my work and see the connection between my ideas and the Celtic’s ideas.  My aim is that viewers will immerse themselves in the world that I have created.  I have placed the paintings in a dark, closed-in space to allow the viewers to focus more clearly.  The spiritual aspect of the works is achieved by the use of mystic colors within the dark space and the softly playing Celtic music.  In each painting there is a tree with a hidden figure that has been created with the Celtic’s beliefs in mind.   I used original pictures of each tree to study the shapes and colors in order to paint them with a natural and realistic connection.  To this organic form of each tree I added my own vision that incorporates the Celtic belief of each tree.  One painting is focused on the tree of life concept and the other three paintings are focused on the qualities that fit my personality the best from within the Celtic tree-belief system.

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