This month in the Upper Gallery the Station house invites patrons to an exhibit involving the spirit and its connection to nature with the mixed media showcase Spirit Awakening.
Spirit Awakening features the works of Arimathea Pappas — a mother of two and a mixed media artist from Clinton who said she’s been doing art her whole life, with a love for drawing, sculpting and everything in between. Born in Vancouver, Pappas said she grew up all over B.C. and got into art thanks to her art enthusiast parents, who ran an antique auction in Vancouver that exposed her to a wide range of First Nations and world art.
“I’ve always just been fascinated with art, how different it is and how it can touch and move people,” Pappas said.
Her main focus these days artistically is working with clay to create sculptures, while bringing in pieces of the natural world to include in her pieces including antlers, horns, driftwood, moss, bark and crystals. All of these components are very natural and organic and give her pieces a very “spiritual vibe” she tries to infuse in all her pieces.
Pappas promotes her art through shows to basically, she said, inspire and touch as many other people as she possibly can with her art. As most artists do, she hopes to inspire their artistic side and touch them in meaningful ways.
This mentality is evident in Spirit Awakening where each piece has its own message, all tied together by the underlying theme of being in touch with both yourself and nature. She has expressed this through sculpting a series of masks, faces and humanoid figures and incorporating them into pieces of the natural world like logs, pine bark and antlers.
The face, specifically the eyes, are gateways to the soul, in Pappas’ opinion, and it’s because of this that she loves incorporating faces and masks into her artwork. Originally, she started by making a replica of her own face and has since evolved into a wide range of expressions and faces. The inclusion of them in her pieces helps enhance the spiritual message she’s going for with this exhibit.
The collected works in the Station House are the result of roughly three to four years of work and each one of the pieces were inspired by a dream or vision Pappas had. Her process involves going for walks in nature to collect various pieces for her collection or receiving them as gifts from friends. When a piece speaks to her, she tends to have a waking vision of what it should be and then promptly sets out to make that dream a reality.
“I love making my visions into real life, materializing in three-dimensional form,” Pappas said. “I have a piece at home called Dreamweaver and in my dream I was walking through the forest, I looked over and I saw this golden web with a white golden spider on it with a face behind it. From that moment I woke up and gave me this head to toe feeling of where I needed to go in terms of incorporating nature more into my work. It was almost a consensus of telling me there was more of a purpose to what I can do and create, that I can create my visions into reality.”
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Once a piece pops into her head, Pappas said her enthusiasm and excitement take over and she just can’t stop until it’s fully created and mimics exactly what she saw. Being able to do so is incredibly satisfying and exciting for her as an artist and person.
She hopes that by viewing her pieces, people begin to look deeper into everyday things, question more but most importantly find that connection to nature that exists within themselves. For potters and sculptors, she hopes it helps demonstrate the endless possibilities of what one can do with the medium. Clay is a real ancient material, Pappas said, with a lot of life to it that can be made into some pretty incredible things if one puts their vision into it.