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Interrelated Opposites

How do you describe the whole clearly enough without leaving out crucial parts?

Dearest Doodle Soupsters,

Duality, how opposite things exist together, is a central theme of my art.

I've been asking myself what to do with that fact. I know I weave all of these themes together (the magic and insight to be found in nature, emotions, healing, grief, the beauty and struggles of life, the wisdom in the ordinary, my own story, etc.) in my artworks. But how do I describe that metaphorical tapestry I'm naturally weaving with my art? How do I put the connections into words?

How do you describe the whole clearly enough without leaving out crucial parts? When to say more and when to say less? When to add specifics and when to let simplicity do the work? These are questions that I ask myself a lot, when writing about my art but also just in living life. And in a way, asking these questions, toggling between simple and complicated, zeroing in here and there then zooming out and then going right up close again in the same spot or a different one — that's how I make art.

Sometimes, I find duality comforting. Because the co-existence of opposites means that no matter how much suffering, destruction, loss, and pain, there’s always something to be found, to reclaim, and to love. Yet other times, I find that co-existence very confusing and I wrestle with it. And there are even times when I feel angry at duality, when I think: Why must darkness be interrelated with light? What's the point of all this contrast? Why? Why must I feel sadness, or anger?

As much as I want to accept all emotions, which provide valuable insight, there are also times I don't want to feel. For all my belief in feeling deeply, letting my pain be just as real and valid as joyful and peaceful feelings, sometimes I struggle with accepting duality. Maybe I want duality to be a "good" thing. And really, it's neither good nor bad. It's just what is. It's living in reality, being alive, looking around, keeping my eyes and ears and all sorts of senses open. It's noticing. It's allowing painful truths to co-exist with the magic and beauty of being alive, neither truth negating or erasing the other.

Consciousness is full of interrelated opposites such as darkness and light, change and constancy, stillness and movement. I want to embrace the fact that this concept of duality is core to my paintings, drawings, and mixed media works.

So, this is me putting it into words ... I use texture, color, line, and medium choices as well as abstraction, realism, and text to represent different slices of human perception. As a survivor of sexual abuse, I struggled to keep myself alive during my teenage years and early adulthood. My artwork reflects my own story, healing process, and grief as well as my observations from nature, research, and everyday life.

Each of my artworks can stand alone to depict a certain layer or aspect of the human experience, but I also continually group and connect them like fluctuating puzzle pieces building my ever-growing picture of existence. And there it is, another duality! My artworks of parts of a whole yet every part remains whole on its own.

Honoring the dualities of existence and in my art,

Nicole Sylvia Javorsky


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