Stella Alesi has resided in Austin, Texas for the past 20 years. Born on Long Island she was raised in New Jersey. She began her undergraduate work at Parsons School of Design in New York City, and finished at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Her graduate work was completed at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
Painting is a meditation, a process in which to focus and investigate more closely the external and internal with no judgement.
The Wheel Series:
The wheel is one of Buddhism's eight auspicious symbols. I use it here as a leaping off point to explore the cyclical nature of life and our interconnectedness to all things.
In sanskrit the word mandala means circle. I am using the form here as a dharana, or single point of focus, which is a helpful tool for meditation. Sometimes the mandalas are create with a stream of consciousness approach, and other times a more specific focus, as with the bird mandalas, which each focus on a single chakra.
The Vanita Series:
The Vanita Series pays homage to a genre of still-life painting that flourished in the Netherlands in the early 17th century. Vanitas painting contained collections of objects symbolic of the inevitability of death and the transience and vanity of earthly achievements and pleasures.
In my previous botanical series I was always looking up to the fruits and berries exploding into life on the limbs of trees and bushes. For the Vanitas Series I turned my attention downward to the ground. The Rumi quote below played a part in inspiring this series:
On the day I die, when I'm being carried toward the grave, don't weep.
Don't say, He's gone! He's gone. Death has nothing to do with going away.
The sun sets and the moon sets, but they're not gone.
Death is a coming together. The tomb looks like a prison, but it's really release into union.
The human seed goes down in the ground like a bucket into the well where Joseph is.
It grows and comes up full of some unimagined beauty.
Your mouth closes here and immediately opens with a shout of joy there.
The botanical paintings are a celebration of life and the simply beauties of the everyday.