Friday, October 27, 2017

Know Yourself: Becky Soria - Essay



(...that winding road that goes up to the Delphian Sanctuary of Apollo. Pausanias warned us the road was “precipitous.”)


Know Yourself: Becky Soria

As the Greeks reminded us, self-knowledge is the highest wisdom we can accomplish. I feel most in reach of it in the presence of ancient archaeological ruins, which is why I travel to excavation sites. Even if occasionally it freaks me out to get there, example being that winding road that goes up to the Delphian Sanctuary of Apollo. Pausanias warned us the road was “precipitous.”

In like fashion, Becky Soria seeks self-knowledge. It is one of the reasons she paints irregularly formed, highly distorted human figures. These images help her connect back to herself, in other words, they serve as a meditative device by which she finds parts of herself that may be hidden. It’s clear from our innumerable discussions, Soria’s ultimate goal is to discern her unlimited self.

What about the self is hidden? An “immensity” to borrow from Baudelaire, from our cellular blue prints to our cosmological connections. Dual consciousness is a source of uncertainty. The subconscious mind is buried, until it rises to the conscious level, at which point integration brings self-awareness. Another barrier to self-knowing is insufficient understanding of how our complex biological and psychic centers of energy interact with the rest of the universe’s sub atomic components. If as physicist Brian Greene believes, time is an illusion, multiple dimensions curve through ours, and there are parallel universes, then our limited perception is a miserable grasp of reality.

But it’s not hopeless. Very soon new discoveries will define the universe’s fundamental ingredients and laws, as well as our place in it, and when that happens the seemingly mystical aspects of the self will become conventional truth. We might learn that particles and waves actually play a role in that which some believe is spiritual essence. To understand spirit matter would be groovy. Or that we hold memory patterns from our human past, Jung called them primordial remnants, imprinted in cellular structures. Soria believes this. When she lets loose with intoxicating colors and unexpected texture, dense and coagulated, she’s often thinking of Jung.

There’s no denying that Soria’s painted figures represent feminine energy and renewal and regeneration, in the manner of Paleolithic Venuses, Demeter and god-birthing virgins, as her collectors are aware. The artist has incorporated this symbolism for many years.

Bruce Leutwyler made the interesting observation that chronic back pain makes Soria adept at mindfulness, by which he means sustained focus on thoughts, emotions, sensations and surroundings. Here Leutwyler is theoretically aligned with weighty authority, although I can’t remember which egghead formulated the theory, it might be Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, can't recall, who places the distressed body in the realm of “presence” where heightened senses bring one closer to truth. I’ve actually seen Soria holding her back while at her easel, so it’s not inconceivable that she is contemplating brush strokes and pain while she excavates the self.

In her new exhibition "Landscapes of the Goddess Within" at Archway Gallery, Soria will show 25 paintings. The exhibition is Saturday November 4 to November 30, 2017, Opening reception Saturday November 4, 5-8pm, artist talk 6:30pm. Archway Gallery 2305 Dunlavy Street Houston, Texas.

Image - Becky Soria, "The Body Electric, 2017 Acrylic and Charcoal on Canvas, 60 x 20”