The experience of art upon a viewer is undeniably a powerful one, and many identify a sublimity in art, a quality of transcendental beauty that connects to the divine. Eva Poulsen, a senior art major at the University of Dallas, not only sees the goal of her artwork to connect the viewer to the divine, but also for her own self-reflection upon the divine as an artist.
The theme of Poulsen’s seven-piece exhibition is “Love Letters to the Divine Feminine.” Poulsen created seven powerful pieces of mixed media, but mostly of acrylic and oil on canvas.
These paintings are a way for Poulsen’s reflection upon the divine as well as a personal reflection of divine attributes as found in women. “I understood that God is perfect and whole and with that comes multiple aspects,” Poulsen said, but as humanity is limited, we can only reflect limited attributes of the divine.
The seven ways Poulsen professed most uniquely connects to the divine are also the focuses of her seven paintings: “Body,” “Ritual Process,” “Love,” “Suffering,” “Creativity,” “Dreams” and “Nature.” Besides the holy number, seven, each painting images a circle, which is not only a symbol of perfection and divinity, but a cause of focus for the artist.
“I felt like I connected to God through the feminine more,” Poulsen shared. This artist uses her painting skills as a meditation upon God and an active prayer to Him, specifically through her reflection upon the seven aspects of her exhibition.
This is also why Poulsen often works in self-portraits, because she understands femininity through her own experience of womanhood as well as her connection to God through personal prayer.
We are made in the image and likeness of God the Creator, so according to Poulsen, artists imitate Him in their creative experience. For Poulsen, her painting helps her understand more clearly God’s love for humanity, and this is one of the ways she prays. “That’s how I do it,” said Poulsen, “I want to invite others to do the same.”
Poulsen’s exhibition is not only personal to the artist herself, but it will also be an interactive experience for the viewers to be creative themselves. “[I want to] help others connect to God in a mindful prayer, or an action-oriented prayer,” shared Poulsen.
As an artist, Poulsen sees this experience as both a great culmination of her art experience at UD as well as a time of self-critique as an artist. “I think that at the end of the year, I do have a dissatisfaction but it’s not a negative one,” shared Poulsen, “It’s just the knowledge that I can do better and I’m capable of more and I would like to pursue that further.”
However, Poulsen also sees this experience as a way of letting go of some of her perfectionism, reflecting instead upon her future growth instead of how she could have worked differently in the past.
Poulsen also reflected upon her growth as an artist since freshman year. In her earlier years at UD, Poulsen would complete sections of a painting to her satisfaction, resulting in many unfinished works. “I’ve learned to paint more in a sketch like fashion [now] and to paint in layers and build upon it,” Poulsen said, resulting in her more frequent completion of her work.
“Now it’s much less intimidating,” shared Poulsen, “And I think that it’s actually helped me to live life in a similar way where I tackle it little by little.” Poulsen also likes the pressure the semester added upon her paintings, pushing her to complete them more efficiently.
While all of her works are exquisite, Poulsen’s personal favorite is “Body,” a masterful and beautiful self-portrait which turned out to be closest to the artist’s initial vision.
Poulsen’s exhibition will be open to the public from April 24 until May 5, and certainly these love letters will be unmissable.