Christine Mottau’s chakra paintings came into consciousness unexpectedly. In 2016 with an exhibition looming at New York City’s Ceres Gallery, Mottau found herself creating luminous abstractions without a premeditated direction. “I didn’t think about the paintings seriously at first but then, I realized, ‘Oh, you’re painting the chakra meditation,’” she recalls.
Practicing transcendental meditation for years, Mottau became interested in chakra theory as a way to restore physical health after Lyme disease. Beyond being drawn to the integration of mind, body, and spirit, the role of color in chakra theory resonated with the New York-based artist. Departing from her previous landscapes, Mottau, who has exhibited since the 1980s, began to use color—deep reds, rich purples, and vibrant greens—to portray transportive inner experiences.
Her painterly process also mirrors meditative practice with unconscious imagery emerging into vision. Mottau paints one thin layer of color at a time to construct depth and light. Time-consuming and requiring incredible restraint, whether small or monumental canvases, each painting takes about a month to complete. Over time, Mottau reveals she has developed more trust in her intuitive process: “I have a greater acceptance and am more interested in the magic that happens.”
This is not the only evolution occurring through six years of making chakra paintings. While earlier works consisted of a darker, moody palette, her newer paintings, made mostly during quarantine in 2020, exude a joyful tranquility, bolstered by airier colors. By offering respite in tumultuous times, Mottau hopes to impact audiences, even those not familiar with chakra theory. “My intention,” she explains, “is to create something that is elevating, beautiful, and inspiring.”
Currently continuing to paint while curating a group exhibition at Ceres Gallery in January 2022 based on Kate Novack’s short film Hysterical Girl, Mottau sees no distinction between a creative and spiritual life. “For me,” she reflects, “the essence of a spiritual life is when I’m able to connect with myself fully from a place of authenticity and honesty and am able to express it visually.”
Christine Mottau is an American artist who has exhibited in galleries since the 1980’s. Living and working In New York City and Spencertown, NY, she was educated at the Art Institute of Boston and the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston, MA. get in touch with her at: