Lori Schouela is a mixed media painter and installation artist born in Montreal, Quebec. The artist earned a BFA from Syracuse University (1980), a 4-year studio arts diploma from SMFA at Tufts University (2007), and The Fifth Year Certificate from SMFA at Tufts University (2009). Schouela’s work explores the nature of the mind as a place of quiet refuge. With the artist’s invented vocabulary paintings become dreamy terrains of alternative brain maps; an abstract representation of various mind states, wishes, and emotions. Using the metaphor of floating realms, the artist investigates fleeting and ever-changing thoughts.
Schouela has exhibited in galleries locally and internationally and has received numerous awards for painting. Her work was exhibited at Scope Art Show, Basel, Switzerland, and Art Basel Miami Beach. Schouela recently had a solo exhibition at The Danforth Museum, Framingham State University, 2021. She received The Massachusetts Cultural Council Award in Choreography 2022. Schouela’s work has been published in Architectural Digest magazine, Studio Visit magazine, and Boston Home magazine. The artist is represented at Gallery Boston Art Inc. Schouela currently works in Boston, MA.
Floating Worlds of the Mind
Mixed media and acrylic on canvas
Impermanence by 15th C. Zen Buddhist monk Ikkyu Sojun:
Look very closely
Only impermanence lasts.
This floating world, too, will pass.
Over the years as a painter and meditator, I have learned to look deeply into the mind and observe my thoughts. I look at life like a floating world. A giant changing realm of appearances, colors, emotions, patterns, the whole internal and external world that changes ever so slowly and beautifully. The floating world that the poem refers to is describing a natural law. All things appear and all things dissolve. I see my art in a similar way. I paint floating worlds with mixed media on canvas as a metaphor for changing mind states. Thoughts constantly appear and dissolve. These realms are anti-gravitational spheres of my thoughts. They range from busy mind states to finding peace through quiet moments of meditation.
On another level, the work can be seen as a mind map. These floating landscapes are abstract diaries that describe the ever-changing mental activity in my mind at any given moment. In the work I use my own invented vocabulary of images and thought patterns that rise and fall throughout the day. This vocabulary is also interpreted as I observe how my mind can slow down and be in a state of calm during moments of meditation. Swirls, drips and sketches make up a latticed network of my mind. My paintings are an invented terrain of alternative brain maps; a pictorial representation of various mind states, wishes, and emotions. A personal language emerges from my observations of moment-to-moment reflections.
The floating worlds are capsules that express the weightlessness of the everchanging world we live in. The work takes the viewer’s eye beyond what is defined on the surface where one can only imagine what lies beyond the mountain or sky looking for a sense of refuge in the vastness of the unknown.
Headshot by Naail Ali, BFA '23