Cheryl Sylivant Artist Statement - Art and Living Energy®
When we see, we first get an idea of what something is, and then we update with our visual senses. There is a back and forth between what we think we see and what we see. Abstract art making and viewing gives a way to let the brain play between both what we assume and what is, with an open energy. Art gives an opening outside of what we expect to see, and can give the opportunity to slow down into sensory engagement. It gives a neural way to disengage from how things look in the representational world, and to play in how the brain organizes.
Before beginning to paint, I studied physiology and animal behavior. When I heard that both claw extensions of the lobster were the same genetic material, and that whichever one was most stimulated would grow to be the crusher claw, it changed the way I perceived how I used time. This was in the 80's and it gave me the idea that however I used my mind would change the physiology of my brain.
I intuitively understood neural plasticity. When I started to paint, the work began with thinking about what energy would look like on a canvas. I took years of classes at The University of Pennsylvania, which prepared me for my move to New York City, where I went to become the best artist that I could become. In NYC I took 8 months of full-time instruction at the Art Student's League of New York, where I figured out that alternating between moving ahead of my mind to paint quickly and moving as slowly and faithfully with what I saw, let me regulate myself to be able to work in trust of my senses, my eyes and my hands. Later I traveled independently with oil painting materials, and then the ability to invoke culture on a canvas became my signature, I create abstract visions in the encounter of energy and intuition. I read energy of location, spaces, and people.
I learned color as a make-up artist, studied art and psychology, filmmaking and interior design, herbalism and intuition, and have created paintings in many places in the US, Europe, India, China, Morocco, Argentina, and Brazil.
What Does the Brain Tell Us About Abstract Art?: Front Hum Neurosci. 2014; 8: 85. Published online 2014 Feb 28. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00085
Abstract art and emotion: expressive form and the sense of wholeness. J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 1991;39(1):131-56.