When Words Get Tired


Matti Sirvio’s current exhibition When Words Get Tired is on view at the artist’s gallery is Muscat, Oman.  With this collection of works, Sirvio expresses his observations of society and the larger, deeper messages that don’t sink in.  With the increasing pace of life and technology has come the gradual loss of the weight of words, and in a world saturated with imagery, the weight of symbols and signifiers.  “As the world seems to be spinning faster and faster, pictures have to fight for people’s attention.  Yes, the modern culture is described as visual, but is it really?” Sirvio questions.  “Very few people have any capacity to look at Rothko’s paintings.  They have too much undefined room in them.”

Our digital devices leave us less and less space, pulling us away from contemplating present, undefined moments and into social media, ads, and images.  Sirvio’s artwork does not bow to this cultural change.  The artist continues to work from a removed, spiritual place.  He calls these works the imprint of the Divine on his heart, “God’s handwriting on the walls of my private chambers.”  His subtle dimensionality in color and shape remains strong, making statements both emotive and beyond this world.  The theme of the exhibition is meditations on life and death, the before and after.  “The Storm is Passing Over” depicts two planes, the higher one shades of the underbelly of a lightening cloud, the lower is thick.  The grey-blue hues are solid and muddy.  The image could be interpreted as the earth, solid and receiving, and the quality of movement above in the heavens.  The meeting of eternal life and the form that ends in death, the before and after.

“Tired Words” is a fiery piece, like the orange tip of a flame exploding with golden hues.  Darker elements bare a defiance.  Is it the emotion of the words that still know their weight, the symbols with unmoving meaning?  With eyes hovering above our phones, we scan written words and skip entire paragraphs.  We scroll through images and bypass symbols in search of more.  Like these dark shapes, they haven’t lost their meaning.  We have lost our ability to receive it.  When Words Get Tired invites you to rest your gaze and meet the work with your own emotions and experiences.  The exhibition welcomes prolonged interaction as one searches for meaning.

Sirvio cites “Zeitgeist as being a moving piece in the particular collection of works for him.  It touches on the country the he affectionately calls home: Oman.  “The central piece of this show is a big painting called ‘Zeitgeist.’  It’s a reflection of my observations in Oman today.  The country is seeking her identity sometimes from the unknown past, sometimes from the unpredictable future.  There is a battle raging for people’s souls.  The invisible powers are like a huge magnet pulling people to all directions.”
To view When Words Get Tired type Matti Sirvio Galleria into Google Maps.  There you will find directions to the gallery space in the mountains of Al Amarat, Oman.  The exhibition is on view until March 31st.




Matan Ben Tolila – Bat Kol

In the cave #2 70x55 cm 2017

Matan Ben Tolila is an artist who lives and works in Jerusalem.  In the past, the Israeli artist explored themes related to conflict and escapism.  For his current exhibition Bat Kol, Ben Tolila changed his creative process entirely.  The precision of his brush strokes is reflective of his former approach.  For Bat Kol, he let the initial forms, literally, take their own shape on the canvas.  Learn more about the exhibition which recently opened at Noga Gallery in Tel Aviv, Israel below.

Q: Why did you choose the name Bat Kol?

A: In the Jewish tradition, there are narratives, mainly in moments of conflict, in which a divine voice (In Hebrew: Bat Kol) comes out, as a non-official spokesperson of God, and represents a different perspective on the events. Since there is a strong visual narrative in the series of paintings in my exhibition, I thought it would be right to have moments of revelation, moments of words spoken from a higher source.  

Q: What inspired you to change your creative process?

A: After feeling for a long time that I was not excited anymore by the act of painting, feeling that it had been a long time of walking on familiar paths, I decided to completely change my method of painting. I placed the white canvas on the floor, poured diluted paint on it and let the arbitrary stain be the starting point for the painting. In the created stain, I saw in my imagination caves or melting mountains, and I got the sense of visiting new, unfamiliar, unconscious places, strange to me but belonging to me (and only me) as well.

Q: There are a lot of caves in this work, and then open spaces with water as well.  What do the caves and the water represent?

A: The caves and the open sceneries were not born out of a conscious decision, but intuitively. An artist’s studio is some kind of a cave or womb and I suppose that when I paint a cave or some other place of separation, I detach myself.  But it also enables me to wander in a beautiful, mysterious space. 

Water and open landscapes often appear in my paintings and they are the place where I can express continuing flowing and gentle movement.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about a few pieces?

Stars 44x41 cm 2017

“Stars”:  This is the smallest work in my exhibition and it describes a simple moment where the viewer’s point of view is from a dark cave towards a hole in the wall. Through the hole, the starry skies are seen. The combination of beauty and light along with darkness and great distance, are the essence of this work.

Facing East 130x190 cm 2016

“Facing East”I wanted to create a painting of an embroidered fabric screen hiding an open panoramic landscape. The screen is in the front of the painting, acting as an obstacle or interruption to the right order. On the screen are two suns embroidered and from the name of the work you can understand it is about a rising sun. In this work, there is a clash between the natural aspects of the view showing from behind the stretched screen, and the artificial embroidered landscape on the fabric. The natural and the artificial, the revealed and the hidden, are present together in the simple moment of sunrise.  

Look 160x100 cm 2017

“Look”: In this work, there is also a clash between the natural, represented by my figure and by the dog beside me, and the many poles placed in the space artificially. This is my self-portrait, a little bent, staring at the viewer, as if seeing something the viewer can’t see yet. The poles are not straight in the ground, they are tilted as if subjected to the ravages of time. The long shapes of the poles here are an expression of a disturbance, and they add a wondering about the nature of the background space and its quality. 


Bat Kol at Noga Gallery

60 Ehad Ha’am st.
Tel-Aviv 6520219 Israel

Monday-Thursday 11am-6pm
Friday-Saturday 11am-2pm

(Story originally published on INTLFineartfine.com)

Lael Burns


“Secret Place”

Lael Burns’ artwork is delicate dance.  The murky, fleshy shapes and celestial glitter bodies tell a story of opposites that interact.  It is a painful struggle.  Within the intricacy of this exchange, of these gruesome and pleasing elements, there is beauty.

“Making art has always been a way for me to process life and is just something that ‘clicked’ with me from early on,” says Burns, who lives and works in the Fort Worth, Texas area.  The shapes in Burns’ artwork developed in her childhood.  “I used to have this huge magnolia tree in my yard growing up, and the buds that fall off the tree fascinated me.  In middle school, I started drawing them and thinking about other biological and organic forms as a representation of my inner self, so it’s a means of communication and expression I adopted that I still use.”  Burns placed a high value on her creativity from a young age, due to support from her family and teachers.  Art became a necessity in her young life.  “When I was in middle school I feel like I really turned to art as means of survival during some dark family circumstances and just never stopped making.”


“The Blessing”

Viewing much of what Burns creates is an experience of repugnance and awe.  Confronted with an element that is ugly and strange, it is hard to look away from its relation to what is beautiful.  Organic forms in her current work are like wombs and gnarled roots, an outpouring of her psyche and spirit that comes from a deeply spiritual place.  The lure of darkness and the pursuit of connection to God are ever-present themes.  This duality of existence is shown as the visual layers of human nature and the spirit.  On the canvas, the distorted being (human nature) still possesses the spark of true life (spirit) that will remain after death and presently reaches for connection with the heavenly realm.


“The Process of Believing Beauty”

What has had a powerful effect on her canvases is the renewal of Burns’ soul at the age of twenty-seven when she pursued Christian faith.  Like the tension between what is ugly and beautiful, the past and the present are relevant aspects of what the artist communicates with forms.  “I think much of my work prior to this major change was dealing with similar ideas and themes.  I was just on the other side of it. I was heavily steeped in church and Christianity growing up, but I was angry and running from Christ, whereas now my work is a picture of a person finally yielded to and remade by Christ.”  There is a heavy sense of matter in the bulbous forms that rise from the page.  Bright airy clouds and shrouds of smoke balance the weight.  The colors, and glitter accents, harken to the light in the soul.  “The most exciting, driving aspect of my work to me now is continuing to experience healing and deliverance from God and watching how that plays out visually. It’s a process that will continue until I die.”

Burns’ life is also a balance, one that she approaches with a spiritual flow.  She is a wife, mother of two small children, and manages to dive deeply into the creative process while they nap or play outside.  While motherhood often pulls artists away from their practice, Burns found balance in an at-home residency and support network for mothers.  “I did a 6 month long residency with An Artist Residency in Motherhood which really helped reframe the way I was thinking about my work after I had our second child and I stopped working.”  Burns was formerly a high school art teacher.  “It was a big adjustment to go from working full time and being away from my children so much, to being home all the time with then a newborn and a toddler. It was a big adjustment emotionally and for my studio practice, but such a good one.”  Some sessions meant creating with the kids, while others were fruitful moments like the ones that she finds in her day now.  ARIM helped her set the tone for being a creative person and a mother.  “[It] helped me get in contact with other artist mothers and reinvent a studio practice that works with my situation once my daughter got a little older.”

LBurnsRevival's Seed8

“Revival’s Seed 8”

Burns now homeschools both children while maintaining her studio practice.  She does not keep a rigid creative schedule, but lets her studio time fall into a unique pattern each day. She often works on several pieces, assembly-line style, somehow knowing what each different piece needs at the same time.  It is unconventional, but helps her maintain a certain level of productivity.  The process is successful, considering that new pieces are frequently popping up on her Instagram account.

Burns’ current sculptural exhibit at Fort Worth’s Art 7 Gallery is wrapping up soon.  The artist will continue to find inspiration in the spiritual aspects of her life and seek balance one day at a time.  “You’re only going to be able to get so much done if you are with your children, and I’ve just made peace with that.  I’m learning and enjoying this season of less structure and just ‘going with the flow’ and staying in the place of joy and freedom.  I know it’s so cliché, but my children will only be little this one time and I want to enjoy it.”

Learn more about Lael here:


Regina Jacobson


“Wearing My Sundae Best”

After working in the fashion industry for thirty-three years, Regina Jacobson brought her insight into the culture of beauty onto the canvas.  While pursuing her MFA in fine art at Laguna College of Art and Design in 2013, Jacobson had an epiphany.  She “discovered a provocative message which is a syntheses of my background in fine art, fashion and religion – a spiritually and philosophically charged commentary on human frailty, the vulnerability of our delicate self-worth when based [on] appearances, our need as humans for love and our quest for approval from others.”  Jacobson goes deeper than the search to reach an unrealistic standard of beauty, and into the spiritual destruction of misplaced self-worth.  “My work is filled with Judaeo-Christian signifiers that point…away from the rituals and events set forth in the Bible; crucifixion, prayer, marriage, original sin, betrayal, worship, sanctification, etc., are applied to the idolatry of unattainable physical perfection.”

Jacobson’s surreal approach on the canvas has whimsical and playful elements used to communicate the worship of beauty.  Each image is met with a poignant darkness.  In “Clipped Wings” the bird in the cage under the enlarged eye in the magnifying glass is shrinking under the mockery of her own poor perception of her physical being.  The woman is both the caged creature and the human being perpetuating cultural messages of what should be attained.  One of the most fantastic and deeply troubling images is “Wearing My Sundae Best.”  A woman’s face atop an ice cream cone is covered by a black funereal veil and piled high with elaborate, bright hats.  Underneath the layers is a despondent veiled face, resigned to believing that she is meant to be enjoyed, even if she doesn’t enjoy it.  These fantastic elements, executed in a clean, realistic style, communicate multi-layered messages.  “The ice cream scoop on the expansive checkered board floor and the topiaries of the rabbit and the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland serve to undergird the idea of the bizarre and curious being accepted as normal,” says Jacobson.


“My god, my god”

In Jacobson’s series “Cult of Beauty” the secret ritualism within the life of someone who seeks approval from an illegitimate source is uncovered by the usage of religious elements.  “While the arrows that I shoot are aimed at the heart of idolatry, they originate from the truth of the Bible – the idea being that the origin of the thought, therefore, insinuates meaning onto the target.”  In “Witness” mannequins stand in the place of ministers, symbolized by long panels on their clothing that are similar to the details on preacher’s robes.  The panels of Jacobson’s “Alterpiece” triad harken to stained glass images, each holding their own story that supports a whole when placed side by side.  To the left, a figure is trussed in ropes, yet their casual demeanor makes them seem unaware that they are indeed bound.  To the right, the upper half of a woman’s body is support by the lower half of a mannequin.  The central image strikes a blatant Biblical chord, titled “My god, my god.”  A woman is suspended by a rope hung on meat hook.  Her toes hover over the ground while she pulls the strings of her corset so tight that her outstretched arms mimic images of Christ on the cross.  Her body is reduced to an object that can be strung and moved about at the whim of what she worships.  Behind her, soft candles glow on the alter where she sacrifices herself.



“As a Christian, I view life through the lens of my beliefs.  Though my work tends to the darker side of the emotional spectrum, my beliefs seem to saturate the work, dealing with eternal and moral themes” says Jacobson.   She desires for her work, dark, vulnerable, and unafraid of the truth, to cross boundaries.  “Recently I’ve come to feel that, to those outside of Christianity, our message seems archaic, our language drenched in exclusivity, our imagery burdened with puritanical innocence.”  The artist says, “I want my work to resonate with the world in a way which allows them to feel that we can empathize with their pain. We are all suffering, we all hurt, we have all fallen short of the glory of God. I want to open up a conversation about our common weaknesses.”  By viewing her work, and contemplating the larger messages, Jacobson hopes that others will be directed toward spiritual renewal.  By using art to communicate messages of faith to all people, she says, “I want to extend a hand to help them out of their bondage – out of the darkness and into the marvelous light.”

Jacobson is currently at work on an installation.  The large-scale project is a collaborative effort among various visual artists (including set designers) and will grow “Cult of Beauty” into a “fully immersive environment.”  Currently, another exhibition titled “The Ring” is in production and will include performance art.  “My vision grows daily and it’s hard to keep up with.  I hope to receive grants and raise funds to produce an international exhibition: I dream big.”


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