A Series of Oil Paintings Inspired by Travel Posters from the Last Century
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Painted by Anne-Louise Ewen, 2019, Los Angeles, California
Souvenir. A little keepsake that we pick up on vacation. But also, in french, a verb that means "to remember." Why does the play between those two meanings evoke such a feeling of tenderness in me? Is it because we buy these little things to try to hold onto moments that we know are fleeting and will never come again?
I like this as title for this series of paintings I made in 2019 based on old travel posters. Even if the series was born out of a desire to make memories, yet non-existent, that felt out of reach.
To some degree, all of my work is about inner freedom. It's something that I channel in my process of creation, and I work to embody it in a way that contagiously lights up feelings of freedom in other people. An openness that simultaneously pulls you deeper and makes you lighter. The arts certainly do that. They expand our capacity for empathy. They pull us closer in our intimacy with life.
There's a cathartic energy in these paintings that came out of a desire to literally get away to somewhere beautiful and to also internally find a place that is not colonized by the would-be authoritarians who exploit our attention spans as we feel compelled to search the news for new threats. I wanted to travel, to get away, but it wasn't a time when I could personally take a few weeks to disappear on the other side of the world, seeking spiritual refreshment by strolling along in a foreign city with no other goal than to feel my heart swell with love turning each corner.
I paint what I need, so in the spring of 2019, inspired by vintage travel posters that caught my eye, I made these paintings. Of course, here we are now in 2020 after many months of covid-19 isolation, and these paintings fill a need for these kinds of experiences of discovery and beauty in an even more urgent way than before. Enjoy.