Emile Shamie’s Visualized Worlds

In a high-tech age, Emile Shamie’s paintings are like a breath of fresh air. Inspired by music, by dance, and an intuitive sense, Emile Shamie envisions painting are actualizations of the gestural act of painting. While these paintings look surreal and otherworldly, they are in fact very much songs for the earth and of our place therein. Shamie’s process is largely unconscious. He makes no preliminary studies or sketches before embarking on a new tableau. Instead he follows his instinct, and discovers elements within a painting as he paints them into being. These paintings become reifications of experience. As viewers we bring our own experience to bear on Shamie’s art. Within we capture fragments of legends, of narrations, all suggestive of a larger story that recalls our own origins on the earth. The elements in each painting, whether the sensuous and beautiful women, the fish, the trees, imaginary landscape elements, build and condense into what could only be called spiritual and searching convergences. Harmony, colour, cadence, tonality and wandering lines all converge in a single composition. They communicate a sense of the human condition. A free expression of the human spirit Emile Shamie’s paintings do not catalogue, categorize, or codify. Instead this is the human spirit on a walk, moving through its invented universe. We see women whose backs are exposed, who become parts of mountains and indeed are the landscape. Other women are goddesses, or nymphs or Mother Earth herself. We see rivers and valleys and skies that are parts of an inner world, but a world we can all identity with.

There are shadows of the creation myth, the myth of the tree of life, of the Song of Solomon, if you look for them.

Shamie’s painterly stories move towards naiveté, rather than instruction. As Shamie states, “Whatever is realized in a painting travels through me. I am just the medium. I have no control over the process. I never know how my paintings will turn out. ” Heaven help the artist who seeks to dictate what art is. He or she would be lost forever! Shamie is not at all lost. He creates worlds that are in a state of flux and flow peopled by spirits and personages that are captured, but never entirely. Instead these embodiments of life’s energies exist as mercurial, ever changing testaments to our brief lives and the joy and exuberance of it all. Shamie celebrates life’s event. Who gave this painter wings? They came from a quiet place that exists miraculously in the private worlds we invent . Our imagination becomes the dowsing stick that brings us to discover hidden worlds. There is a beautiful movement like music, with a cadence. Our emotions follow the natural and very visual flow of line and colour, between the object and the surface. The body and the nature that surrounds are inseparable. The canvas is Shamie’s child. He brings each painting to life like a child, finding a place for each fragment of each larger picture he discovers. These paintings recall Wassily Kandinsky’s colourful abstractions and Oskar Kokoschka’s texture laden landscapes. Transformative, Emile Shamie transformative paintings are intimate exposes of the inner self. The soul is revealed as moving colour realized. Even the visualizations of these beautiful women, and landscapes are imaginary projections of inner worlds. Over time his paintings have opened up, and are less dense, compacted with imagery, a balance is achieved.

These paintings express something of the luxe, calme, volupte of Henri Matisse but the cadence is amateur, that of an inspired naïf. We discover inner worlds. We can enter into them. We can move through these experiences like time travellers. The tautologies of painterliness, and purist production that dominate the plague of professionalism and production in today’s art world are nowhere to be found in Emile Shamie’s art. Emile Shamie is a painter who loves life, pure and simple. His paintings express with honest simplicity, the joy that is life itself.

– John K Grande

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