The palimpsest of my own life – a childhood in Jordan, a grounding in the Orthodox church, a career in mathematics and science – is glimpsed through my pieces. My art is an alchemical journey to discover the hidden beauty at the very heart of the universe. The process is at once meditative and draws on creation narratives and nature. I attempt to touch the sublime and the sacred through my process that uses multiple layering and geometric shapes to achieve a state associated with devotional art. My work opens a window onto a belief in harmonious universe and creates a space for contemplation in a world that often seems discordant and conflicted.
Using fifteenth century methods, imagery is worked in tempera made of ground mineral pigments mixed with egg yoke, vinegar and distilled water. The tempera is laid down on gessoed panels prepared in my studio using a lengthy process, preparing rabbit skin glue and sanding to a smooth finish. These panels are gilded with 23.5ct gold leaf using medieval methods of gilding. Process is absolutely central to the art: the authenticity of the base elements, the careful preparation of the materials and the layered depths of a gradually evolving work. The hidden treasures and depths glimpsed in base elements are revealed by time as if through alchemy. Yet the images created remain simple.
The physical process of creating art was a sacrament in itself, a form of worship for the medieval artist as it can be for the modern artist too. For me, as for the iconographers, base elements and geometrical shapes reflect universal principles and express the sublime in a form of artistic transubstantiation. The complexity of the process is juxtaposed with the simplicity of the imagery. I see art as a spiritual journey – a belief I share with artists like Mark Rothko, Makoto Fujimura, Shirazeh Houshiary, Tobi Kahn and Kenji Yoshida whose work inspires my own.