Kora Bales

“Integration: It’s not what you think.”

I grew up in Modesto, California, attended Modesto Junior College, receiving an AA.  I transferred to CSU, Stanislaus, a city away, and earned a BA in English Literature and Art, with a minor in painting. I had never taken an art class until the age of 25, and when I realized a great affinity for it, I completed the degree and the minor. There was no interest prior to that in art. Within that degree, I realized a new way to see. It was a wondrous, revelatory process wherein I felt more of a channel of visual information than a creator of it. Art from this period can be viewed on my website at www.korabalesart.com
Current work is reflective of how my artistic process has evolved (see Artist’s Statement below). Meditation’s transformative effect on my concept of self has been fruitful, loosening the noose of ego-constructed perception.  Consciousness, and the study of what that exactly is, is foremost in my life, and I recently earned a BA in Metaphysics, and am writing a master’s thesis paper entitled, “The Metaphysics of Enlightenment.”   

Artist’s Statement: 

I never look at something and see nothing. When creating art, and from the point of my focus, my mind surveys a blank surface, and I transcribe a series of marks, lines, or voluminous forms out of loose graphite. This is the building stage, and I have no idea what it will evolve into. I guard my willingness to be informed by what I am looking at, gently foregoing my will to create what I think, and instead, only create what I see. 

My drawings are visual experiments in which I maintain a meditative state for prolonged periods of time. As I look at the mark-making, I ask myself, “What is here?” There is never “nothing” there. There is always a dot, or an impression in the paper from something having touched it. There may be a slightly greater impression of the paper creation process on parts. Regardless of the surface, my mind projects whole landscapes and complete pictures, but in the process of tracing what I see, more detail suddenly “appears” to me.  

I have realized that in the initial stages of the process of seeing, my mark-making creates illusions that morph into geometric visual paradoxes. For example, one group of marks and tones suggests ideas and indicates possible images developing. It may be a line, and when I note there is an arc next to it, a plethora of new possibilities opens up. I constantly ask myself, “What is here?”  And, through the dynamic of association of line, shape, tone, and proximity, illusions of space appear, and a visual paradox is created that forces my mind to either answer the above question with, “Nothing is there” (which is never the case, ever), or, I sit still and watch myself copy what I see, until a realization of illusion and paradox occur.

By watching, instead of mentally pushing myself onto the paper, effectively forcing the imagination, and creating an “uninformed drawing”, I instead maintain a meditative state that is simultaneously tranquil and at peace, but active and interactive. Within this, a magical point of observation arises, in which an entire, completed section of the drawing is miraculously, and suddenly evident, and all I have to do is erase a bit, or tighten up a line, or shape with subtraction and retrace.  Images of my subconscious mind are accessed, translated and transcribed. By way of this process, I effectively eliminate expectations for performance and workmanship because using this process puts inner peace, tranquility, love, joy, and acceptance foremost into the experience: I trust that what I see cannot be wrong, flawed, or incorrect, and that every mark, erasure, and emphasis of line, is the result of an energetic, intuitive connection to Higher States of Awareness. I observe what appears, an illusion evolves, a paradox occurs, and this creates a “window” for a completed drawing to be seen.  I only then must transcribe it.  I watch; it appears.