Ali Beletic | Studio Visit
JOSHUA TREE, CA
Working in a variety of mediums, Ali Beletic is a conceptual artist whose diverse bodies of work reflect her connectedness to the earth and her desire to explore, simplify, and bring her viewers closer to the simple beauty of nature and its overwhelming power over us. Her practice hones in on a philosophical perspective regarding the human tradition of joy and celebration. Her work often draws on a wide variety of ancient symbols, narratives, materials, ancestral technology, art, medicine, architecture, ecology and mythology to help invoke some of these latent instincts and feelings.
Last month, Ali debuted a new collaborative series of Fire Bowls in our group show Dressed Up Normal. These works were created in collaboration with ceramicist Romy Northover. Aesthetically simple, these constructions are reflective of primitive methods, philosophies, technologies and artifacts. “There are so many ways of knowing and we are left only remnants,” says Beletic. “The series is intended to be in dialogue with the strong connection that runs through the endeavors of human beings and the many ways of knowing.” These new works mark a development in concept, departing from tradition and form, creating new works based on bringing these ancestral inspirations into the modern age. The Fire Bowls are intended as ceremonial objects for the purposes of holding small ceremonial fires.
With this mantra in mind, Ali presents this mineral series Dioptase, which hones in on a primitivist and archetypal perspective, choosing to work alongside the natural raw and rugged beauty of ancient technology, natural materials and mythological shapes. The intention of using raw minerals as pigment alongside these universal references to light, primitive survival, architecture & art, symbolism, natural shapes, mythological and storytelling from cultures throughout humanity’s history is intended to employ a Jungian archetypal celebration, hoping to bring to mind simple, beautiful, sensual responses and power which has been passed through generations.
“While working on several large-scale sculptural works in Arizona, I started the mineral painting series as a gallery-analogue to the work I was doing out in the field,” says Ali. “Painting with the mineral rich earth and hidden deposits beneath our feet with their intense array of color, beauty and innate worth was a way to bring my Earth Art Ceremonies into the gallery.”
Each mineral is selected carefully and crushed down to a fine powder to be used for its own natural beauty in color and intrinsic properties.
Dioptase was used as a decorative pigment on Pre-Pottery Neolithic sculptures dating back to about 7200 BC. The mineral valued as a precious gem was named for its unique crystalline structure and optic quality (Greek, Dia, “through and optos, “visible”). It has a unique perceptual quality due to its extremely high fire, however the fire is masked by its strong color, which makes the stones appear translucent, rather than transparent.