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© 2020 Aveen Toma

"Strive to preserve your heart in peace; let no event of this world disturb it."

-St. John of the Cross

Artist Statement

Aveen's work attempts to exemplify the relation between the human soul and what is True, Good, and Beautiful, by personifying various concepts of Christianity into visual illustrations.  Her work does so by means of inspiration from Sacred Scripture passages and quotes left by the Saints. Through representations of these Transcendentals she is able to illustrate the vastness of the teachings of the Church and the fruits of a virtuous life, or a lack thereof. Her art will usually personify themes of virtue, vice, morality, holiness, and corruption, among others, and their effect on the human person and soul. In this way, her work transforms what is invisible and conceptual into a tangible, illustrated reality, in the form of the subject matter, colors, textures, and media used, as well as other elements of each piece. 

 

We cannot visibly and directly witness what takes place concerning our souls as we live each day- what happens to the soul and what happens to us because of its state- therefore, Aveen strives to capture that relationship through relatable, perceptible imagery. In a sense, her work takes a "behind the scenes" look at what the soul and human person may experience as a result of different moral behaviors and values. 

 

Each piece is based on and illustrates either a passage from Sacred Scripture (passages are taken from the New American Bible, Revised Edition) or a quote from a canonized saint, which provides each piece its foundation and core theological meaning. Aveen then brings these words of wisdom to life in a manner that is approachable but that may also be unprecedented, captivating, and perhaps even playful at times, yet the spiritual significance remains. Regardless of the themes within each piece, they are all united and showcase in their own way the three Transcendentals- which all find their source and perfection in God, Who is Himself Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

Aveen's main subject matter is generally the human person, as Christianity concerns humanity- most especially the salvation of humanity- for we are the recipients of the Word of God and each of us is called to holiness to be in perfect communion with our Creator. Usually, the figure is placed in a context independent of space and time; thus uniting the recognizable and everyday with the invisible and spiritual.  

Her work is mostly done in oils, but sometimes watercolors and colored pencils. She also creates mixed media pieces by attaching a variety of objects and materials onto the surface, which usually include handmade elements. These real world, three-dimensional components interact with the subject and composition of the piece in order to help "bring it to life" and further its underlying message. These elements can range from such materials as decor stones, artificial flowers, nails, duct tape, and handmade paper butterflies, among others.

Note: the written explanations behind each piece are solely the artist's own meanings based on her intention of the piece as well as her interpretation of the corresponding passage or quote. Nonetheless, she also invites the viewer to develop his/her own meaning and interpretation of the artwork in whatever way it speaks to him/her.