"IT'S LIKE sifting for gold or something," says painter Christina Edwards.
Crouched down, she gently tilts her canvas, guiding the watery streaks of sky-blue paint she moments ago poured on the plane.
Blue washes over lush grays and a putrid white. Color is her ultimate muse and she applies it in translucent layers, conjuring seductive landscapes.
“These lines happen because the paint drips down. It only drips because of gravity. So it’s just as important a tool as anything else; it just happens to be inevitable,” Edwards says.
The emerging local artist has a deep appreciation for the outside forces that shape her art and her career.
2014 ushered in a solo exhibition at The Butcher Gallery, then a group-show at ThincSavannah organized by Art Rise Savannah (of which I’m a board member).
2015 opened with another solo effort, “Fluid Horizon,” at Lili’s Restaurant and Bar.
Edwards’ next break was acceptance into Kobo Gallery, a noted local artist collective. For March, her debut month, Edwards will be Kobo’s Artist of the Month.
20% of sales from works sold at the Lili’s and at Kobo throughout March will be donated to the Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire, her way of contributing back to the universe what it has given her.
“I’m excited at the momentum that I’m getting because this is what I chose,” she says.
She talks about her career in a series of anecdotes, recognizing the influence others have.
“Art is about who you know and what you can learn from each other,” she says.
Her path as an artist began in a quest to keep close to a friend who transferred to Savannah Arts Academy. Edwards followed and shortly discovered her passion and talent for art.
She attended summer classes at Armstrong during high school. There, Edwards met local artist and teacher Carmela Aliffi, who planted an early intellectual seed.
“She gave us big blank canvases and one kid couldn’t start, so she came around and took a big, old orange brush and went ‘Gah!’ right across the canvas, and said ‘React to that. That’s what art is. It’s reacting to something.’”
Now her Waters Avenue studio is lined with works in progress, all with figurative orange slashes, waiting for Edwards’ reaction.
Layer at a time, the sensuous color pools are nursed to satisfaction then left to dry. There are always surprises with the pouring technique. She rarely returns to exactly what she left.
“It’s responding to that. Whether you are keeping it or annihilating it,” Edwards says.
This brings unexpected treasures—rippling textured surfaces, luxurious unintended hues, and drip patterns exploring their own gravity.
While pursuing her BFA at the Atlanta College of Art, she developed her painting technique. Its roots lie in cleaning her paintbrushes and admiring the color of dirty brush water.
“So then I started pouring it on,” Edwards says. She was encouraged by renowned artist Pat Steir’s work, which employs a similar technique. “I felt like I had all the permission I needed to just keep pouring.”
Following her time in Atlanta and an excursion to Germany—where she discovered her affinity for the horizon line’s sharp, yet hazy delineation—Edwards returned to Savannah.
“I have family structure here, which has allowed me to do what I’m doing,” Edwards says. She is also grateful to her job at Atwell’s Art and Frame, which was an initial gallery space and conduit to the art community.
In college, Edwards careened through mediums—screen-printing, acrylic, mail-art, and collage—allowing them to flow into another. She still continues to work in multiple mediums.
“Chasing the Horizon,” her Kobo exhibition, is a holistic selection of her works, including some wax transfers and collages. On March 5, 5-8pm, Kobo will host a Meet the Artist reception for Edwards.
Across mediums she plays with context, allowing things to lose their meaning and transform.
A broken window is de-contextualized into color—an unfolding expansive, dreamy space. Images ripped from National Geographic are intuitively processed into humorous, thoughtful scenes.
On her studio wall is a visual sketchbook—a close-up of a car hood, a shadow on a house, a quiet harbor. She also holds a repository in her mind of moments real and imagined.
“My brain at this point automatically fuzzes it all out and distorts it to its colors. Like an automatic filter into this,” Edwards says gesturing at the painting at her feet.
She sometimes feels like she experiences her life through paintings that could one day be. And what does that feel like?
Her eyes sparkle as she glances over and quietly grins. Almost to herself she says, “Like magic, a little bit.”