”In all formations and products, whether of nature or of art, we can distinguish the form in itself and the form together with matter. For instance, the form of the sphere is one thing and the gold or bronze sphere another; the shape of the circle again is one thing, the bronze or wooden circle another. For, when we speak of the essential nature of the sphere or circle we do not include in the definition gold or bronze, as they do not belong to the essence, but if we are speaking of the bronze or gold sphere we do include them, even if we cannot conceive anything else beyond the particular thing. This may be the case, for example, when we speak of only one circle, yet none the less the being of circle is one thing and the being of this particular circle another: the one being form, the other form in matter, as well as one single individual being” (Aristotle, De Coelho, Book I, Part 9, 277b, 278a, 32-11).
The pictorial production of Miriam Pace seems to confirm Aristotle’s considerations on the distinction between form and matter, art and nature. The artist’s eye is focused on both macrocosm and microcosm, universal and particular.
Painting is to the artist both an analytic and synthetic tool aimed at capturing the inner being and the outward appearance of things together.
The thing is never described, if anything it’s represented as a standardized structural element spreading on the painting surface. The pictorial space is a field being the fruit of a relational system among its parts and of an active dynamics of moving forces denying the hierarchy between centre and periphery.
Miriam Pace works through the multiplication of a standardized element, the thing, spread across the pictorial space in the shape of a dome, a galaxy, a constellation. Not only does she have a far-seeing, keen intuitive vision, but she is also talented with detailed, almost microscopic, close observation skills. Still a further evidence of the Aristotelian process of knowledge acquisition, the attitude of representing the exploring properties of the form permeating matter, being the essence of the matter.
In her work, the essence is the standardized element endlessly spreading through circular rhythms, pressing toward the edges of the canvas, beyond the work’s physical limits. Sometimes the serial succession of the element turns into quantitative extensions, corporeal forms. It might almost seem that, through the pictorial process, each essence is embodied by the evidence of concrete forms synthesizing a hint of life and its opposite, the organic origin of things and the menace of life threatening viruses.
The value of projectuality certainly plays a crucial role in the linguistic strategy of the artist, whose style is characterized by quite very special articulations of matter.
Miriam Pace invented a new geometry, a fertile ground for a rational irregularity, always choosing the elements of surprise and emotion; elements that do not conflict with her project theme, rather they strengthen it through a pragmatic but not preventive use of descriptive geometry. A demonstration that the artist’s vision leads to a creative process being not only demonstrative but also fertile and fruitful. In fact, the final form turns into a visual reality that is not abstract but concrete and yet pulsating in the viewers’ analytical eye.
The work of Miriam Pace builds on the principle of asymmetric reasoning, formally choosing irregularity as its creative rule. In this sense, form is not platonically identified with the idea; there is not cold specularity between project and execution. The work reveals the possibility of an accepted and assimilated asymmetry, the adherence to both modern art and a world conception made of the unforeseen and surprising.
Wise chance is man’s ability to accept discontinuity without falling into the despair of being unable to reason. Acceptance comes from abandoning the logocentric Occidental arrogance and choosing the patient Oriental analytic attitude, that is, pragmatically approaching the world not negatively but with a good disposition. A disposition that doesn’t preclude any formal solution, but sometimes leads to adopt contrasting points of view in the same work: proximity and distance, routes and landscapes, smooth and bright colours. It follows from this that painting is not the artist’s ecstatic and platonic view on the world, but the objective perception of a structural universe you can unceasingly travel across; organic and artificial nature, entwined, fixed in the form of the artwork.
Organic nature is thus depicted through a peculiar approach joining proximity and distance and yet being aware of the impossibility of joining matter. Even in the case of spiritualized matter, in some kind of Oriental vision, a sense of distance prevails, the need for a filter linked to the analytical mind, able to govern emotions and yet to suggest an absolute vision.
The artist’ perceptive eye is embodied in the work; it is the formalized impulse of exploring the macrocosm through the work’s microcosm.
The artwork is a formal moving universe, a painting accepting its physical limits but having, in the meantime, a relational system where all the elements are linked, where there is no hierarchical staticity, no centre-periphery opposition, but fluid relations.
Miriam Pace seems to explore star distances and subatomic proximities, contemplative ecstasy and scientific attention. She moves among forms that unveil the infinite pleasure of life and the finite fear of illness, the birth and death of things.
To the eye of both the painter and the viewer things have the fertile ambivalence of forms bearing in themselves ultimate beauty and entropy at the same time. Such ambivalent forms come from the artist’s peculiar pictorial technique being manual and technological at once. The artist’s eye seems to always be provided with a magnifying glass enhancing its depth. The two-dimensional surface of the painting is a flexible aid helping the artist to convey any formal solution to the viewer’s contemplative space. And so, the work is a place of cognitive exhibition that doesn’t absorb, suck in the viewers, if anything that leads them to take a certain distance, the same distance shown by the artist in the execution of work.
In the artist too there is a distance between ideation and execution. Ideation comes from instant intuitions, but afterwards it needs a lucid analysis. This taking a certain distance finds in Miriam Pace a perfect balance in a creative process where the painter forgets by heart the technique used; the technique itself requires discipline and freedom of execution.
The Sicilian artist clearly shows very personal dislocations and original overlapping forms giving images the pulse of life. Form is the gap between art and life, the subtle Aristotle’s distinction adding to the reality of things the aesthetic counter-reality resulting from the personal imaginary. In this sense, Miriam Pace clearly seems to refer to sociocultural anthropology, but also to be opened up to a different kind of anthropology looking like not a mere constative and statistic one. Her paintings have the power of a cultural nomadism that goes beyond all frontiers, oscillating between East and West. Her galaxies and constellations might be also seen as a proof of the fact that her vision of the world is not neutral, but apt to see the optimism of reason together with the labyrinths of life.
In the end, Miriam Pace belongs to the generation of those young artists who absorbed the cultural inspiration of a positive global universe where identity is not the result of territorial belonging but, rather, the result of access to a virtual place where you can explore apparent and structural reality together. A dynamics of things, life and death together, that only the excellent movement of art can capture, art as existence and survival. For, as Michelangelo junior said in his intense musical performance, “the earth trembles”. Prophetic art that voluntarily chooses the perennial exile of fertile incompleteness, so as to go on being a constant promise of life.
Achille Bonito Oliva