I have always had an intense need to understand the universe. The only means available to me were through forms and colors.
My visual art training while varied, vast and thorough, neither prepared, nor guided me as how to seek and find the universal truth. That task was left entirely to me.
I have spent my entire adult life looking for answers. I did numerous visual researches some as long as ten years. This was done in an effort to bring the two opposing sides of my brain together. Reaching and understanding a greater being required, internal unity first.
During the many phases of my artistic pursuits, the need to create contradiction and opposition such as, chaos and order became evident. After endless failures in the selection of different forms and colors, I decided to choose an element (for form) that was naturally accepted as a symbol of order. Slowly and painfully, the use of and expansion of "numbers" emerged.
Numbers are the most universally recognized and accepted forms of information. They are exact, objective, cold, constant, reliable, factual, informative, rational, orderly and accountable. Due to their nature, numbers have also acquired intensely emotional and mystical values in all cultures.
I use numbers to show dualities, such as order and disorder. Order is shown by the natural sequence and the correct formation of numbers. Disorder is shown by broken, disorganized, malformed, disarrayed and rearranged numbers. In using numbers, I am able to show two opposing sides of an issue, while using only a single visual element.
While both order and disorder can range from boring to beautiful, it is disorder that assumes many faces and endless arrangements, from sublime to sinister. Some disorders are beautiful and appealing, others are disturbing and hard to understand. Whatever shape, form, coloration and arrangement the disorder acquires, it remains a part of our universe and demands our attention, understanding, and even respect.
I have executed the "Number" concept in several languages. The ease of transfer from one language to another not only confirmed my understanding of our universe but also brought with it the added bonus of expressing the specific qualities of the culture it came from.
I have prepared numbers—in any given language—from half an inch to forty eight inches high. For each painting, I select one or two numbers from zero to nine. Using a pencil, I rearrange and draw the two numbers from many different angles. New forms and lines are thus created. I select the new forms and lines based on the visual choices I make. Next, I use acrylic paint to give life to the selected new forms and lines.
Shamira Derakhshani Nicolas