becca Pawling Acrylic collage
Though my subject matter may meander, it always returns to the biological. I received an MFA from Goddard College’s Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts program in 2001. It was here that I began to blend my multi-media art practice with a love for the study of natural sciences. This self-directed degree program afforded me the time to explore natural environments, observe flora and fauna, tune into the rhythms and cycles of growth and decay, draw, record and listen.
During my childhood I spent hours in my father’s laboratory, studying the contents of specimen jars, taking in the labeling, the Latin terminology and the scent of formaldehyde. His love of the natural world taught me to find beauty in the curious, to look at systems and symbiotic relationships, and to find spiritual fulfillment from the smallest natural gifts.
My landscape paintings are inspired by hikes through rural Vermont, where I would invariably find myself in front of the crumbling out-building, the abandoned mill, the fallen barn, a testament to a dwindling farm economy. Much like my father’s specimen jars, I use painting as a creative sample of natural time to be identified, labeled and studied. Catching a precise moment in the evolution of an entity marks time in the biological cycle of birth and death, and by observing and recording, I feel more present. My compositions reflect the moments in between steps, when silence fills your ears and animals make poignant appearances. This is my religion, this moves me; my life as an artist is spent trying to capture enchanting moments for anyone who will stop and look.