I feel freer in open expanses in which I can orient myself and connect to what’s going on around me. With a clear line of sight, I can let my guard down and develop a kind of sixth sense through which I feel myself as part of something greater than myself. The phenomena of branches silhouetted by the light, a passing storm, clear water at the beach, the golden hour as the sun drops are fleeting moments that speak to me as something more eternal. When I find a moment of solitude in any setting, my sight is heightened, and I see colors and the play of light and shadow more intensely. I observe the shifts of atmospheric light, allowing me to experience being part of the wider world even in my studio or in my apartment. Abstracting these ephemeral experiences into geometric shapes, plotting lines, and color relationships allows the viewer to share in my search for the transpersonal. Rather than simply cast my eye at distances, my senses mediate what lies between here and there — both spatially and temporally. This may be why I have begun to work with encaustic. I work in layers, which both hold individual marks and colors while also building effects. Importantly, the media is transparent, receiving and conveying light as an actual presence. In letting past actions be visible, I want the viewer to see the history of the painting, and for me the layers of encaustic embody the human quality of lived time. Immersing myself in the act of painting, I accept and celebrate imperfection along with transience. Whether encaustic or oil, I work with the properties of the paint and not against them, creating edges that are never perfectly straight and surfaces not completely flat. I go with the sensuousness of my materials, and the flaws are part of an organic language of human touch. I find myself between my need to create order and my desire to just lose it.
Steven Cabral is a Boston-based painter and has shown his work in several group exhibitions in the greater Boston area. He is a member of the Vernon Street artists’ community in Somerville, Massachusetts. Steven holds a BFA in painting from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and he currently lives and works in Somerville.