Anna Zorina Gallery
July 21 – September 9, 2023
What would happen if only we hushed our busy minds and simply let nature be our guide, in the way of our early ancestors and fellow animals? Artist Maya Seas dwells upon such surrenders in a solo show at Los Angeles’ Anna Zorina Gallery, entitled Currents. Here, quests to uncover truths of the soul are realized through a balance of intro-and-extrospection, devoid of the interference of modern society.
In these figurative works, manmade concepts, such as time, have been blown aside to reveal the true dimensions from which our spirits exist. Women and children of color, with dark braided hair and flowing gowns, engage in silent rituals which reinstate their identities and relationship to the environment. In essence, this series is about reclaiming connection with the natural world.
Created between 2022-2023, these works consist of large-scale paintings, mainly executed in acrylics and charcoal on canvas. The looseness of Seas’ delineations and spontaneous application of paint further render them dreamlike, detached from our usual, jarring sense of reality.
In Our Place, a woman and child sit peacefully upon the grass, gazing into a hazy horizon. There is a general sense of well-being, as the side view of the young girl reveals a serene smile, and eyes closed in contentment. In the distance, faint outlines of mountains are diluted with soft streaks of blue and rosy light. Receiving shows a woman crouched before an ornate, tilted vessel, accepting the offer of water on a balmy day. She allows its soothing substance to trickle through her fingers, as if to symbolically quench an internal thirst, by directly communing with the source of life.
Another example of connection through somatic interaction is The Pink Cloud, in which a group of subjects linger and bathe in what appears to be a body of water, disguised as a cloud (or perhaps, it is the other way around). In the foreground, a woman lounges upon a cliff, legs tilted upward towards the sky, as she observes the ethereal scenery. Others are gathered in the distance, partly submerged in the misty atmosphere, as part of a realm that seems to exist somewhere between heaven and earth.
This collection is soft, feminine, compassionate, and meditative. As if to defy the fast-paced, complicated lifestyles we normally find ourselves subjected to, these paintings point to the intrinsic life force that pulses beneath the surface, and non-oppressive, natural currents which usher each moment. Here, subjects are allowed to let their hair down, to slow their pace and bask in the calm of mother nature.
Cover image: Installation view, Currents; all images courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery, photographed by the author.