PARIS EVERYDAY April/May 2015 Issue
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Thursday 16 November 2006 Journal Excerpt
“…being an artist means seeing things and never having the ability to shut your eyes.” KEARIENE MUIZZ
T HE A RT O F S TONE
P ARIS E VERYDAY Uniting time to a tradition of uninterrupted beauty
T HE O RIGIN O F A N EW S TONE A GE To understand the starting point and the emergence of something as rare as originality it is often more revealing to begin with what was lost. By locating the object that has vanished one can often find the reason for its symbolic reinvention at a later time and place. When considering the creative mastery that is so easily associated with the artistic enterprise of Keariene Muizz today it is challenging to understand that the visual arts had not emerged as a facet of her persona until the end of her adolescent years. In fact, before Keariene was a sculptor hand-building life at the age of sixteen, she was primarily known for her advanced mathematical skills and poetry. Math gave me the stability I craved as a child. It comforted me to know that two plus two was the same no matter where I was in the world. Mathematics helped keep my mind organized whereas art gave me a place to store the innermost feelings I silenced. I will always be a servant to both.
The innovative art that Keariene Muizz is distinguished for is the residue of an unforeseeable event that took place on a wintry afternoon in 1994. While preparing for the close of her high school career a classmate took the only two baby photos her mother preserved from the countless moves that had frequently disrupted her childhood. Initially, the injustice of this theft would not feel small. With time the act itself, though pushed further away from the surface of her mind, maintained a lasting effect like an imprint left behind by fingers that are no longer within reach. From this single misfortunate act an artist was made, unintentionally, as a gradual shift from logician to visionary progressed –out of sight, in the recess of an unconscious divide. There was no need to depict oneself in images prior to the absence of the photos. However, as time passed, the inability to look upon herself during her first years of life translated into a question of identity. For as long as I can remember I daydreamed a lot, ever since childhood. There wasn’t much else to do while riding cross country in the back of a ’77 Ford. But my real life is like all of my dreams, sleep or awake, I can not see myself –my face belongs to someone else. So my hands have always refused to sketch the features of my own face. I can see how much I relied on those few family photos to remind me of who I am, and was, at one and three. If I could not see myself as an adult, even as I had overthrown life to live in Paris and sit on park bench, then surely, I thought, the statues could not see themselves either nor rightfully place themselves within the context of time.
It is never completely understood what is won when something else ends. That history is often a mater of destiny. The artistic fate of Keariene Muizz began with the task of self-identification and the birthright of observing oneself. The intention of her creative purpose was no accident, each illustration symbolically depicts the verve of stone and the portrayal of an ever-present sense of longing that will undoubtedly be remembered. 2
P ROPERTIES O F C LAY
A H AND- B UILT L IFE Creativity bloomed as a chance meeting led to romance. Four months after Keariene severed her long-term engagement to her first boyfriend she encountered Augusto R., the older brother of her close friend. Three years her senior, Augusto was a U.S. Marine who sculpted off-and-on as a hobby. Born in Nicaragua he had a taste for art and collecting extraordinary things from around the world. It is quite possible that there was nothing more fascinating to him than possessing an object as exotic as Keariene. The night they met he told his sister that he had found his wife. February 11, 1995 Journal Excerpt I met Augie on Saturday. He was so handsome, but that wasn’t all. His gestures and use of words were motivating. I clearly understood where he was coming from. We played cards and talked. I never felt so comfortable with someone. He’s like Steve in a quintessential way, except he doesn’t smoke and he loves church. I didn’t want to see him go.
Augusto provided something that no other relationship had offered Keariene ahead of that moment, a strong spiritual connection and an abounding inspiration. His active encouragement was an influential well that gave the young sculptor more confidence to consider daring themes in her approach to clay away from the potter’s wheel. Poetry Passage, 1995 His love is like stairs that lift me closer to the doors of heaven.
Long conversations that lasted until twilight were characteristic of the handsome pair. One banal evening in spring, a dialogue of importance took place in Whittier. Augusto entered his father’s living room and proudly held a wooden figure before the eyes of his girlfriend. After asking Keariene what the statue represented he announced his interpretation, “It’s a man humbling himself before God.” Seconds later, with his father by his side, he stated his intention to become a pastor and also unveiled that he was heavily considering proposing to her. At a loss for words, Keariene asked if she could borrow the statue to recreate its glory in earthenware clay, a loan that would lead to the inclusion of her first art show. Keariene sketched the figure in order to balance the proportions in her head to ensure a smooth transition as image transformed to clay, and from clay to stone. Word about the piece spread quickly like gossip on rouge lips, buyers waited for a glimpse and faculty members gloated. All eyes shifted to study her skill. Figure 1 4
Time increasingly became a factor as the deadline for the exhibition approached. Keariene recommended pulling The Monk from the show, believing the potential moisture content of the clay might jeopardize the structure during the firing process. Under pressure to surpass other faculty members and impress an anticipating audience Ms. G. convinced the artist to consent to the bisque firing. The Monk exploded into innumerable ceramic splinters under the immense heat of the kiln. Two years would pass before Keariene would participate in another show. She made no mention of her disappointment and rarely documented any feeling that was an adversary of hope in her journals. Instinctually, Keariene possessed an engineering mind complete with, â&#x20AC;&#x153;a concrete heart that was slow to move.â&#x20AC;? Nevertheless, she worshipped the adoration that found her, and beneath the layer of her unresponsive skin there was supreme evidence of a passionate core. Her response to the affections of Augusto R. was a glowing reflection of the words she could not collect face to face. The inspiration Augusto imparted was returned a thousand fold as a hymn to love moved Keariene to preserve her feelings in her first nonfiction poem. In answer to sustenance that found her, she describes Augusto R. like the approach of an allegorical season: Dearest August, thy beauty runs through me, for I know where your heart has been. I was a guardian concealed in thy shadow, watched as the world craved you to descend. I endured also your self conviction, drowned in the flood of every tear you cried. Tended your wounds, perched while I pondered in fascination that for you love had died. August, thy consciousness and sight is restored. Unaware, I fell feeble when you went asunder. I anticipated every moment for your safe arrival home. Now awoken, for the soul is dead that slumbers. I know what you have loaned. I loved you still as you left me standing. And when you smile, never forget, in yourself always laid this sanctuary. Augusto, thy beauty is for me indeed, through no fault of my own. Let them twist your heart, try to manipulate your mind. Sustain your being. Always live in contentment so says the soul.
When spring came to a close Keariene turned down the proposal from Augusto R. She based her answer upon the heavy responsibility she maintained in raising her two younger siblings in addition to the belief that she had to find the best of who she was before consenting to volunteer her life too prematurely, sacrificing all known forms of happiness for the sake of an identity she had yet to possess. The relationship folded until the friendship shriveled like the petals of a dry flower eight months after luring her away from isolation. She was seventeen, on her own, in every sense of the word, and ahead of her time. 5 4
In spite of her adversity to marriage a collection of charcoal drawings composed in the middle of 1997 revisited the clay figure that disintegrated, suggesting the artist may have looked back at a friendship that had also deteriorated and been thoroughly mourned. However, the profiles were penciled drafts of a new form to be carved out of clay, which could also mark the optimism of a renewed belief in love. It is important to note the numerous triangles and circles which correspond to the trigonometry and geometry Keariene excelled in, signifying an attempt to process the emotions in question in a logical and rational manner. The artist tries to force an identity to evolve from a familiar archetype. Nonetheless, this metamorphosis does not occur until Keariene Muizz incorporates her world of dreams and latent symbols to the properties of clay on behalf of a rock that could not survive.
By searching for traits of her own individuality Keariene would inevitably bring forward her own approach to canvas, making her the pioneer to a new train of thought in an age when it was believed that everything had already been done. 6 5
E ARLY S KETCHES
C OMING T O L IFE In the heart of 1997, small consistent advances led to inimitable progress in the conceptual proficiency of Keariene Muizz like growth spurts lengthening limbs in the dark, her compositions would never retain the same shape again. For reasons unknown Keariene abandons clay and resolves to bring the statue of Augusto R. to life in an entirely different medium and for a new purpose. In a series of sketches that were never intended to be disclosed to the public lies an assembly of evidence of the surrealist foundation that is merely an underlying style in the Speaking Stones collection. In Finding My Senses Again the artist symbolically returns to the period of her â&#x20AC;&#x153;lostâ&#x20AC;? infancy in effort to reestablish documentation that is no where to be found pictorially. Since the artist is emotionally blocked from sketching her own features she resorts to using an androgynous creature to search for the origin of her senses. A faceless being emerges in a desolate landscape as if Keariene is passing through the early stages of life once more. The sketch itself is like a question mark as the artist asks what pushes one forward when there is nothing left. The examination deepens with a closer look; without the use of hands, sight, ears, smell or the awareness of true flesh, is one able to perceive the atmosphere surrounding them. Furthermore, does this figure persevere because there is no other choice or because the spirit is like a tree that sprouts new life undetectably? Defining this moment offers the hope that one may grow into his existence even when everything appears destitute. Ultimately, a disoriented journey fills a page where time is neither ending nor beginning. Fish swim upside down adding to the unconventional landscape, inciting the thought that life is just a dream, a dream with a hole in the middle. I believe everyone has a hole in them â&#x20AC;&#x201C;a void that was never meant to close. And recognition of the gap is what provokes one to search for a higher meaning. In return, this vulnerability serves as a reminder which brings us closer to the humanity within, each in our own way. The hole varies from person to person, but the need to manage it does not change.
Finding My Senses Again, 1997
The Morning I Could Not Fly, 1998
When appraising the next sketch it is important to note that in biology the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for fight-or-flight response during emergencies. In The Morning I Could Not Fly the flight instinct has been thwarted by an unknown cause. Our subject is still a cross between a tree and human, only with the adaptation of having developed translucent wings. The substance on the wings is never explained by the artist, but there is also the suggestion of a secondary theme, being tar-andfeathered. The hole has become smaller in comparison to the first sketch and the body thicker. The expression of our subject’s face is hidden, but a moan is clearly indicated by shoulder blades and spinal column. Planted in the ground without hands, and arms that reach skyward in surrender, this image is concerned with the issue of freedom. April 30, 1998 Journal Excerpt Last night I cried myself to sleep. It was not so much a fit thrown for the absence of M— or Augie; it was a fit thrown for the absence of love. I guess with the opening of my heart the hole inside it grew bigger. When I reflect on my first sketch (Finding My Senses Again) I wonder if I will be like that warrior, wandering over the earth incomplete. Will this be the thorn at my side? The wound that always erupts with puss? Will love be the scab that I pick at? I am letting it heal. Am I angry at love? Yes. Why? For leaving me, and leaving without answering. How can I pick it up if I have no hands?
It was a reality few could envision. After being on her own for three years this frustrated entry points an invisible finger at having been let down by someone of extreme importance, namely the intellectually deficient father she hadn’t seen since the age of nine and the equally unstable mother who had kept them apart. Perhaps, after living on her own Keariene began to see that she was not like the young adults surrounding her in Orange County. To a large extent she had been the primary caretaker of her siblings. The fact that there was no one for her to rely upon was a logical reason to be angry at love; the sense that there would never be a legitimate justification as to why she was left alone to be all that her parents could not was another. It is quite possible that the byproduct of revisiting her origin was that this task could not be undertaken without also considering the function of her mother and father, and this forced her to acknowledge the discrepancies of her childhood. At twenty years of age one of the many questions Keariene could not permit herself to ask aloud was how could you leave me to raise your children? After faintly mentioning this matter in her journal she immediately inquires, “How can I pick it up if I have no hands?” In context, the word “it” implies life. A basic interpretation of this sentence is: How can I claim ownership of my life and improve upon it when I have been given no hands –no tools to help me accomplish the task?
For many reasons in her early adult life Keariene embodies the integrity that is missing from both her parents and casts their emptiness upon herself. The hole in the middle of this subject may be indicative of the hollow they left behind. In both Finding My Senses Again and The Morning I Could Not Fly she unwittingly incorporates their lack of morality in a blind self-portrait. In her journal entry dated April 30, 1998, it is clear that the artist does not perceive that she is sketching herself. However, a quick draft at the bottom of her journal illustrates the winged character directly beneath references to herself. The birth of the winged, half-tree half-human is the central focus of My Evolution.
My Evolution, 1998
My Evolution tries to explain the mythological delivery of the winged tree-human. More importantly, it tells the story of an awkward child who developed in a room that did not have enough space for her. Beneath the belly of the pregnant earth an umbilical cord sprouts from a lotus flower. The breast of nature overflows with milk which causes grass to grow and leaves on the arm-branches of the grown infant. While the needle-like arm is first drafted to exit the womb it is redirected to pierce the heart of the mother. The artist deliberately leaves the lines intact to reveal her thought process a trait that is carried over into her work with statues. The question that is burning the mind of the artist is repressed at a time when she can not openly ask herself, “…did they have me just to leave me, I wondered? The answer was in the pieces they left behind. I was one of them.” Born in Chicago on November 18, 1977, Keariene Muizz was released from the hospital and brought to her grandmother’s home on Thanksgiving Day. The second child for twenty-two year old Marilynn Rowland, whom entered marriage with a daughter India that was four at the time of Keariene’s birth, and thirty-four year old Charles Muizz. Although Keariene was the first child produced by this marriage, she was the fifth child Charles had fathered as Marilynn was his third wife. A son nicknamed Moe was born eighteen months after her birth. Keariene would play the role of middle child for six developmental years, happily exiled as the black sheep of the family while her two siblings shared an exceptional bond. The arrival of another girl came in 1983, making an even number of children. However, after an explosive eleven-year marriage, Marilynn and Charles would separate for good. The disadvantage of the divorce was that there was no other parental authority to balance the aspects of her mentally ill mother. India and Keariene would spend the next several years trading off the responsibility of mothering the younger children. At some point in time the four children were separated and placed in foster care for negligence. When the family reunited the eldest daughter moved in with friends, leaving the duty of motherhood to the eleven year old that would eventually become the financial, emotional, and intellectual thread that held the broken family together. Sometimes our lives bear the penalty of actions that we are not responsible for. I know I was not made any stronger by my afflictions; what made me strong was knowing I was meant for something greater than dysfunction and the daily maintenance of that faith.
One A.M., 1999 15
S OME S YMBOLS December 1, 1998 Journal Excerpt Well there is so much more stuff that I need to purchase to paint these sketches. I can’t wait to get started. If this won’t teach me patience I don’t know what will. I feel so inspired by life right now. I don’t know what to do with myself. I started a new poem. And I learned to trust myself yesterday.
As a creative heroine sketched the lines that best traced her soul, Keariene was completely unaware that liberty was less than fifteen months away. On August 1, 1999, she would arrive at the Gare de Nord train station in Paris, the city of her emotional birth. However, ahead of reaching that day, Keariene was meant to walk through another door as three years of solitude came to a spontaneous end. Her ripened heart passed through an entry which would grant access to her first muse and the consequences of an irreparable love. March 11, 1999 Journal Excerpt Last Thursday I felt as if I don’t have to belong anywhere. I can be myself. Unique in my universe. It’s a beautiful place to be. I took that day off just because I needed to relax. I phoned A.M. and we had a good chat. He stated that it would be good to see me. (He misses me) I write this evening with his picture beside me. A.M. –THE one THE only – (thank God!). I began a sketch on Tuesday night of his face. I love this sketch. I hope to paint it soon so that all the women will adore him and all the men will envy him.
In order to fully understand the cryptic language that is most distinguishing about One A.M., it is necessary to analyze the use of symbols, dreams and secrecy throughout the artist’s life. I never worried about fitting in because I never did. I accepted who I was. And I really loved myself. I went to three different high schools my freshman year alone. I was a late bloomer. I had boy short hair and wore second hand clothes. People were my friend because they pitied me in some way. I made one friend at Wilson High School in Long Beach. Damica was beautiful, nice and she had a circle of friends whom tolerated me. For Damica, I was the wounded bird whose wing she mended. We passed notes in class all the time. Then we came up with a secret language of symbols that we memorized so if someone confiscated our notes our thoughts would always remain private. I picked a heart to symbolize the letter P because I had a crush on Patrick. He was so far out of my league. I was invisible to him.
W A I T
N E X T
*◊<! P E R I O D !
I used symbols before meeting Damica too. In 1983, my older sister and I were crazy about Michael Jackson. When my mom let us pick out our school supplies, India and I both chose folders that had pictures of Michael Jackson for our binders. When we got home I noticed India wrote “I ♥ Michael Jackson,” on the outside of her folder. Well, I loved him too, so I did the same thing on mine, except I wrote out the word love and left out Jackson. My mom saw my folder two days later and went through the roof. She got so mad at me. She grabbed me by the arm and yelled at me like I had committed a crime. She kept asking who Michael was, and what did I love about him. I was never allowed to have feelings. My parents adhered to the adage that children were to be seen and not heard. I learned to be a more careful and I used codes whenever I talked about my feelings. When I had a crush on someone I wrote the letters on top of each other so my mother wouldn’t know what I was writing about. I used the method for years, ever since that day. I was seven. In sixth grade I had a crush on my classmate Tim, I wrote I LOVE TIM on the outside of my folder. No one ever figured it out.
Where most children looked up at clouds every so often and saw shapes, Keariene was constantly scanning her environment for patterns of everyday life, a precursor to her mathematical aptitude. Alone most of the time, she played an imaginative game in her room where she looked at the stucco indentations on the walls and made pictures in her head. Her childhood was one that was filled with fantasy and astute calculations. With time her mother grew more frustrated as she checked insightful child’s homework. When I was in second grade I used the word ‘the’ instead of ‘that’ and my mother asked me to erase the entire word and start over. Instead, I erased the little horizontal line in the middle of the ‘e’ and drew a vertical line at the end, which made it an ‘a’. Then I wrote the letter ‘t’ right next to the ‘a’ to spell ‘that’. Later, when I was in sixth my teacher recommended that I go to a school for the gifted. When I came home and told the news to my mother the first thing she said was, ‘Now, I’m afraid that no one is ever going to marry you –men don’t like smart women.’ Mathematically, I knew there was the probability that she could be wrong and that percentage was enough to make me happy.
Many symbols are used to bring the qualities of One A.M. to light: the profile of a skeleton on the left side of his face, a fish for the socket of A.M.’s right eye and a keyhole for a pupil, as well as puzzle pieces. Each item holds a distinct relationship with secrecy. Layers of sedimentary rock form on the right side of his face representing ancient cultures and the act of rebuilding on top of bones. A daisy forms ocean waves that turn into a dove. Then the bird morphs into steel that melds into a horseshoe, representing his parents. The architecture of his lips are like bridges. What is also intriguing to note is that a heart falls upside down even though this relationship was just beginning to blossom in its third month, and a dollar sign is barely detectable over his left eye; a call which is almost prophetic to the six artificial years that end with A.M. choosing his inheritance over her heart. 17
M ODERN H EIRLOOMS At twenty-one years of age Keariene Muizz traveled alone through Europe for six weeks, dragging her luggage from the center of London to the Acropolis in Athens, on ferries in the Greek Isles, down the cobblestone streets of Rome, and under her bed in the overnight train that led her to Paris. It was the first time she had left North America. Without an itinerary and eight thousand dollars at her disposal from savings she accumulated over an eight month period, Keariene exchanged drachmas for lire, bartered in English and Spanish; formed friendships that would last a lifetime, and proved she could manage anywhere. After leaving the Vatican in Rome to say a prayer Keariene got caught in a rainstorm, which led to her meeting with Laurette McCann, an artist from Florida who lived in Rome. The sun was out one minute, but the next thing I know I’m trying to run away from this downpour in jeans and a light shirt. Laurette saw me running and she offered to share her umbrella with me. She said the storm would pass in ten minutes and it did. When the rain stopped Laurette invited me to dinner. We talked about art at a meal that lasted all night, and love. She kept telling me I was beaming. I showed her the diamond necklace I bought in Santorini. I told her it was an heirloom and I would give it to my daughter one day. I kept the necklace with me, in my backpack. Laurette told me that it was a work of art. Then she asked where I was heading next. I let her know I was thinking of going to Paris, but I wasn’t sure. I was pretty tired of traveling, but Laurette insisted that I was going to fall in love with the city. She said Paris was going to change me forever, and she sensed I was ready to embrace that. She couldn’t have been more right.
After staying in a two star hotel near Maubert-Mutualité and roaming through the streets of the vacated city, Keariene’s soul found the rest it needed to continue. Paris holds an ancient atmosphere because the city has outlived so much. That determination made me feel as though I could outlast everything too.
A.M. broke up with her after bringing her home from the LAX, but it was too late, she had already learned how to rely upon her instincts for the stability she needed. Keariene returned to her small apartment where she experienced a cultural withdraw; a mild depression that was led by a push-button, instantaneous life. This sorrow was prompted by stucco buildings, fast food chains, cookie-cutter houses, microwaves, cell phones, and the rampant narcissism associated with the accelerated culture of Generation X. A full-time worker and part-time student pursuing a computer engineering degree, Keariene had no time for frivolous connections. She had not owned a television for more than four years and spent most of her free time writing, sketching, or studying. 18
In her journal she recounts sitting at her computer trying to compose a poem, but being unable to find a single word to satisfy her. This speechlessness is characteristic of the sensation which will continuously draw her to the corners of the canvas forever. Sitting at the keyboard in her pajamas with a diamond necklace strewn about her neck, melancholia began to sink in. Nothing satisfied her. No words. No clay. No food. No love. Everything was empty, especially her white walls. While studying her blank walls she thought about her necklace and the distant future. What if she had a son? What heirloom would she give him to pass down? She had no baby photos. How would her children’s children remember her face? A flood of emotions broke the dam that had restricted Keariene all her life. At the age of twenty-one Keariene Muizz began to do what her soul dictated and that instruction was to paint. She taught herself peace through the motion of the brush. She painted in secret and for herself alone. As she listened to Charlotte Church sing “Ave Maria,” Keariene chose the visage of her older sister India as the subject of her first painting, making her an icon that would be passed down, between the hands of generations that had yet to come. I couldn’t get the paint to match my sister’s skin tone. I knew Laurette was back in Florida, visiting. I phoned her and jokingly asked, “Have you ever painted caramel-colored people?” She hadn’t and I was back to square one. I figured it out on my own. Laurette and I emailed one another from time to time since meeting in St. Peter’s Square. I told her I was shocked to find out how much a tube of paint was and that I was spending so much money buying supplies. I also mentioned that I had spoken to Ms. G., the woman who encouraged me to become a professional sculptor. And in the conversation Ms. G. had said, “I don’t think you should paint, think about the environment. Artists pollute too much.” When I told this to Laurette, she replied that Ms. G. had fuzzy logic. Affirmed, I laughed, “If I didn’t think so myself I wouldn’t be painting right now.”
It took Keariene three months to complete Ma Soeur (My Sister). Her mind was made up during that blissful occasion. She was going to move to Paris in twelve months to fulfill her most precious childhood dream. Knowing a lot could go wrong as she exerted a tremendous amount of research and energy in preparation. For this reason she did not tell her family or her reunited boyfriend that she was leaving until she received her acceptance letter and student visa, eight months later. Once in France, it would take an educational pilgrimage rooted in the works of Sigmund Freud, along with the acceptance of the materialistic motives of A.M. and the murder of a friend, to drive Keariene to loose her grasp on the natural-world. These key traumas, having occurred in a finite amount of space, were significant factors that plunged Keariene into the deep emotional and psychological paralysis in which her specific relationship to the statues of Paris is established.
Ma Soeur (My Sister), 1999
T HE S CIENCE O F S TONES
T HE S TUDY O F A M ODERN I NVENTION One misty day in December 2000, Keariene entered the Salle J of the National Library of France. Over a course of six months she systematically devoured over one hundred and fifty essays, lectures, books and letters which were collectively known as, “The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud.” Keariene converted multifaceted lectures with names like “Psycho Analysis: Exploring the Hidden Recesses of the Mind” and “Civilized: Sexual Ethics and Modern Nervous Illness” to insightful statements. Then she compared the early works of “Totem and Taboo” with the later more developed theories like “Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety”, integrating the psychoanalytic model into her visual representations. Keariene also extended the scope of her research to other areas of interest: the collective works of Plato, aboriginal culture, Greek mythology, Dostoevsky and a myriad of classic plays. However, with an exceptional ability to recall memories Keariene has much of Sigmund Freud’s manuscripts committed to memory. The artist also credits her in depth understanding of this exclusive body of literature to her personal renaissance. In 2005 her independent work was recognized by the historic American Psychoanalytic Association. Every secretive question that I ever held inside me was answered. Being born to two emotionally disturbed parents, I had a lot of questions. After reading Freud I got my life back. An analyst offers tools that an individual would never find on their own. For instance, I did not know that a parent should not force their children to eat all of the food from their plate because a child can transfer their disgust and anger for the parent onto the food, which can create an eating disorder. As intelligent and analytic as I am, I would have never been able to come to this conclusion on my own. I know not everything Freud suggested was accurate. Believe me, there were plenty of nights when I found myself frustrated, but in the end, the explanations that were true improved me beyond measure. I have peace where it did not exist before, and I can not image going forward for the remainder of my life without that inside me. I think everyone should take inventory of their psychological heritage.
After possessing a relationship with sculpture throughout her life and being exposed to the complex pathways of the unconscious, Keariene began examining her environment in superior ways. But January 2001 swiftly changed the internal balance of a woman whom was without argument introverted but gregarious, realistic and optimistic, private as well as welcoming.
January is the month that marked the onset of the unsolved murder of her friend. Though brave throughout the stages of the homicide the mental fabric that held the artist together is unexpectedly torn. The force of this traumatic incident will be bold enough to encapsulate the moment when her belief system unravels. As a woman whose primary mode of functioning is internally directed, the sense of safety Keariene held in the external world became temporarily punctured and would remain so for the next five years. The effects of this bloody injustice though referenced only once in her journal, coupled with back-to-back occurrences of other key traumas, will prove powerful enough to overturn her resilient nature.
Dans Les Nuages, 2002
Keariene resumed her work at the Bibliotheque nationale de France and suffered through her exams at La Sorbonne, adrift. In a manner that was more powerful than the phase of melancholia that passed over her in 1999, Keariene experienced an astonishing force, “like an atomic bomb that disintegrated everything inside me.” Unable to navigate through words Keariene stormed into La Samaritaine and purchased the canvas for Dans Les Nuages (In The Clouds) in response to this emotional collapse. An impressionist piece that would not be completed until she returned to the United States in 2002, but a style that was mastered on her first attempt nonetheless. Like an actor rehearsing lines in a play, her life would feel scripted as Keariene met the friend of Salvador Dali at a café; renowned French comedienne Sophie Barjac. Sophie’s friendship would be the cane stabilizing the uneven surface of humanity as the pair became as close as sisters. The economic depression in France, dwindling life savings and a bounty of newfound dreams would cause Keariene to abruptly return to her capitalist home. Less than a mile from the shores of the Pacific, Keariene Muizz would use the culmination of all her experiences to begin the Speaking Stones Collection. Over the course of the next several years she would become the focal point of innovation. Featured in the media and publications such as “Orange Coast Magazine”, “The Beverly Hills Times”, “CBS” and “PBS”, her creativity would take flight.
MY INVENTION: SPEAKING STONES Stones have voices. An entire language of feeling and memory has been repressed beneath rock. Hand-crafted tongues hold still, frozen for generations, yearning to speak their secrets –to discuss what they have witnessed, but can not declare. I am not an artist. I am an interpreter for the unvoiced. I define “stone” as abstract flesh and do not restrict the classification to mineral. Stones can be statues. Stones can be children, however, every “stone” reveals itself as a hardened structure which houses a significance that is confined. My passion obligates me to study these stones; identify their unvoiced desires, question the weight of their past, and acknowledge the pressure of being forced to hold a single stance throughout existence. I aim to clarify their personal history, depict details of loose emotional connections, measure, affirm and reconcile their positions. I translate the internal universe restricted within stones, makes the subjects understandable by viewers who have only stood outside with judgment and not from within with consideration; reconditioning a race of people who stare at surfaces objectively as an audience, but never dared approach the more private inner atmosphere of stone.
MY MESSAGE: STONES ARE RESILIENT I know the innermost secrets of stone. When I paint I speak to my immovable subjects. I ask them about the events they have seen. The storming of the Bastille? The occupation of Paris during World War II? Lovers who met in secret in the Jardin de Tuileries? I put forth the question of whether human beings have improved through the ages. Find out about the life the statues would have led. I inquire over and over again about their longings. Of each stone I ask about the world they wanted to exist in, how they wanted to be loved –the colors that symbolize them. And I reincarnate their dreams with the stroke of a brush, and utensils as diverse as charcoal, oil paint and sand. For hundreds of years statues have endured tremendous external pressures from elements like acid rain and wind, just as children bore the heaviness of unimaginable generational curses. I remind both that they will outlast me too. And I help each rise from repression to endure a life of brilliant color, aloud and spoken for.
Seule (Alone), 2006
Sans-Titre (Untitled), 2004
Le RĂŞve (The Dream), 2003
Secourir (Rescuer), 2004
ReconnaĂŽtre (Recognize), 2005
Un Portrait de Moi-MĂŞme, 2004
Premiere Rencontre (First Encounter), 2005
Lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Enfance (Childhood), 2004
Fierte (Pride), 2004
S ACRED S TONES Keariene Muizz is the first artist in art history to depict the tombstones and monuments of the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France. The vision of the Sacred Stones art series is to explore the space that is left behind by the deceased in order to quantify the manner in which humans evacuate life. The creative purpose of my plight is to explore the mental wound that is experienced by the collective voice of those who mourn –to symbolically step into the internalized gap and reconstruct the presence of the dead by assessing the “stone” figure that has been chosen to stand in place of the departed. My method is original and involves pioneering an alternative attitude towards death by inventing an authentic artistic assessment of ancient tombstones, by incorporating theoretical information surrounding the phenomena of mourning and loss.
Haunted by the 2002 unsolved murder of her friend Jeanette O’Keefe, and having to identify her body while living in Paris, with the blessing of the O’Keefe family, these compilation of paintings were created in honor of Jeanette’s memory. Still traumatized by the cold case, the agoraphobic Muizz flew to Paris during the winter and sketched tombstones while standing in the snow at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Upon her return to the California an exhibition was held at the Hollywood Cemetery entitled R.I.P. Remembering Is Possessing. When I phoned Jeanette’s mother in Australia to let her know my intentions for this collection I let her know I was compelled not only to remember Jeanette, but to also let her murderer know that after all of these years we has not forgotten that he was still out there. I wanted them to feel as unsafe and unsure of the world as we were. I was overthrown by such a collective loss. Her mother had also lost hope. I don’t know why but I was confident that this collection was a tipping point in Jeanette’s case. I told her mother, quite assertively, that someone knew what happened and I was counting on that secrets being given up –on loyalties being strained all these years later. I think I’ve always had this habit of testing life.
The Sacred Stones collection was featured by the Associated Press and over fifty news outlets, on April 29, 2008, which made Keariene Muizz the 230th most Googled phrase that day. All lines converged on canvas, both figuratively and in the life of the artist like a final intersection containing every road she ever treaded upon. Then suddenly, Keariene pulls the plug and depicts the cessation of that energy with each brush stroke. Every line in Adieu is meditatively groomed over fifty of times over, as the artist attempted to untangle herself from the impact allowing the subtlety of the background to overpower what is perceived upfront.
Associated Press Sponsored Slide Show http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/_national/tombstone_art/
Lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Offrande (The Offering), circa 2007
Imprononcable (Unpronounced), 2008
T HE KZ S IGNATURE The mark is a signed petition made on every canvas; a plea to be considered from beginning to end, from the inside out.
MUIZ Z, K-Z
Fierte, 2004 Oil on Canvas - 30 x 40 Located at Fontaine Saint-Michel
Written By: Edited:
L.P. Cohen Carmen Viliesid
Sandra Cooper, Keariene Muizz in Bel-Air Studio Annie Appel Studio, Fine Art Photography GIGO Studio, Art Photography Dondee Quincena Photography
Muizz Gallery | Newport Beach, CA| 949.243.0591 | muizzgallery.com | email@example.com
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