If the Ground Moves

Villanelles in Mixed Media

poetry and paintings by nathania aritao.

exhibited in Scarsdale, Shaw Boulevard. january 2015. 


Artist Statement

The poetry came first.

It came all at once, while sitting in coffee shops and riding trains. The journey of writing became a force that pulled me through a season of shifting ground. And as my pen lifted off the page of the final poem, I felt the bright grasp of new hope and resolve.

An echo is a powerful storyteller. A strand of words repeated over time can speak to you distinctly with each retelling. An image painted in different styles can bring new impressions with each redrawing. Because of rhythmic repetition, the reverb can carry more weight, resound with more power, or point you in new directions. All the strokes between the repetitions, they color and curve the nuances of the story.

I write in the form of the villanelle, a nineteen-line poem traditionally structured with rhyme and refrain. I work without the rhyme. My story dances through the repetition of decisive phrases and the rhythm that sways each line.

The paintings came after, visual responses to the written story.

As shape, they are derivatives of scientific photographs and illustrations of the human heart. They come to life now as visual villanelles, featuring repetition of text as line, and the echoing of form, color, and stroke. The paintings reprise the song of the poems. As I brought paint and graphite down onto canvas and wood, I wrote new stories.

Walk through the work. See where the echoes lead you. Perhaps the map of this story intersects with the map of yours.

The ground may move, but we still walk above it.

running upwards // nathania aritao  //acrylic, ink, charocal, graphite on wood // 2015

sounds i will later work on forgetting // nathania aritao // acrylic, ink, charcoal and graphite on wood // 2015

where the pavement breaks // nathania aritao // acrylic, ink, charcoal, and graphite on canvas // 2015

poetry, personally typewritten by the artist, with a vintage 1967 Olivetti typewriter on handmade abaca paper.

If the Ground Moves: Villanelles in Mixed Media

poems & paintings by nathania aritao

a collection of 25 pieces

13 untitled poems; typewritten with an Olivetti lettera 32 on handmade abaca paper

12 paintings; acrylic, ink, charcoal and graphite on wood and canvas

Postcard Set of the Poetry and Paintings:

Click to enlarge

Index of poems, first lines:

Your heart is a maze you don’t have a map for

I don’t like this place where you’ve left me

There is no waiting, only moving

Blank pages don’t need to be filled

The morning laps at you like water on the shore

This is a sign of good days to come

Your verse is a chorus in a lonely heart’s song

We pause at neutral. Is this in between or is this balance?

Walk backwards down your favorite street

We looked up, overwhelmed with the universe

I put my stories in drawers, the finished and the unfinished

I listen to no one and stop only for view of sky

I am not one to lean, but I’d love to let you lean on me.

Index of paintings:


where the pavement breaks

acrylic, ink, charcoal and graphite on canvas

six square canvasses in varied sizes

sounds I will later work on forgetting  

acrylic, ink, charcoal and graphite on wood

three wood panels

running upwards

acrylic, ink, charcoal and graphite on wood

three large wood panels

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