Maija Miettinen is a visual artist born in Helsinki Finland. She lives and works in Pennsylvania, USA where she carries on her studio practice. Currently she works as an Adjunct Professor of Art at Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia PA. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree, with a graduate minor in Comparative Cultural Studies from the Ohio State University in 2015.
I am thinking about the intricate interconnectedness that exists in the world, the view that is shared by many indigenous people. I am interested in shifting and challenging our perceptions what is cultural orientation and construct versus what is biological. We cannot ever fully know or understand all that happened before this reality came into being as it is unfolding itself from one moment to the next. As my paintings are a complex composite of all the things that happened before they came into being; it is true of all of our lives. Our world and reality is so much more intricate than moving from point A to point B. The challenge is can we shift our culturally conditioned perceptions how we look at the world or even those works of art? Can I retain a continuous focus on the moment of encounter and let the work renew itself in front of me and therefore become contemporary? Essentially can I let the work renew my experience of the moment and myself repeatedly? What is that experience like? If I allow myself to become so sensitive to that encounter, can it shift my experience of the world overall? Over 8,000 years the painters of Chauvet cave transcended time and space on the surface of the rock. The Aboriginal painters still carry on 40,000 years of traditions that now are powerfully finding their contemporary manifestations while connecting people across time and space. Mary Graham, Aboriginal scholar and an Associate Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland summarizes in her essay Some Thoughts about the Philosophical Underpinnings of Aboriginal Worldviews how the central question to the Aboriginal people is “what is it that wants to know?” or in other words, “what is it exactly that makes us human?” as opposed to the very central Western idea that asks “what is the meaning of life”. I think “what is that wants to know” or “what is it exactly that makes us humans” are exactly the questions that I am asking through every one of my paintings.
(excerpt from an essay What Is It That Wants To Know; Redefining Pattern and Painting by Maija Miettinen)
© 2019- Maija Miettinen