Silvana LaCreta Ravena isa versatile artist who works mostly with oil, resin and encaustic techniques (she also makes wearable art), creating abstract paintings and sculptural collages that connect psychology and art.
Since she established her studio in Minnesota in 2006, Silvana has exhibited widely throughout the US and Europe, and her art is represented in galleries in Miami, Denver, Minneapolis and other cities including Lisbon (Portugal). Silvana has been featured in several American and European art publications, TV art shows, and has received art prizes in both the US and Germany. Her work integrates many private collections in the USA, EU and Brazil.
Her paintings, meticulous in their use of color and line, areheavily influenced by her background as former clinical psychologist and her studies about the psychology of perception. For Silvana, “art is a type of embodiment in which experience creates matter that creates experience.”
Further acquaintance with her unique biography and the sources/inspirations behind her oeuvre, reveal an artist who has deftly marshaled passion, intellectual rigor, and solid technique to create a genuinely original body of work.Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, she was born in family in which psychology and art are blended. Her work as a clinical psychologist and her background as an artist inspired her to explore in more depth those areas where art and academia, theory and practice converge. She was educated as a psychologist and also holds degrees in art therapy, art history and a master’s degree in fine arts.
She has explored a variety of art forms during her life. The work as a production designer in film and, later, video art, led to her being offered a fellowship to study art and design at New York University, which she had to decline in order to finish her psychology degree. Her favorite art form, though, has always been painting. When she was four years old her parents gave her a set of watercolors and an easel. Little did they realize the career they had set in motion, for with that easel she officially began her life as artist!
From a young age, she went to museums and galleries with her family and, according to Silvana, she can still recall the day her mother introduced her to an art book featuring works by the Italian Renascence master Raphael Sanzio: “Those images stroke me immediately”, says Silvana, “so I asked my mother what that was and she told me: this is painting, my dear. From that moment on I fell totally in love with painting”. At the age of eight, she took her first art classes with Bernardo Cid, a well-known Brazilian painter, a seminal experience that undoubtedly laid the groundwork for her future artistic endeavors. She continued with art workshops and courses throughout her youth.
With art already such a big part of her life, by the time she was ready for college she pursued a degree in psychology.This choice grew out of her interest in the connections between art and behavior, especially the psychological dynamics behind memory and self-expression. After earning her degree in psychology she worked in a clinical setting for many years while pursuing degrees in art therapy and art history. She also studied fabric design, which inspired her passion for wearable art and led to work for the fashion industry. At the time, in addition to showing her art works in galleries and art centers, she also taught art, art history.
Since moving to the USA in 2006, Silvana has established her studio in Minnesota and focused all her energy on painting.Her nontraditional techniques brings further variety to her paintings and sculptural collages through the use of custom made colors and additional manipulations of the materials. With different wax mixtures, for example, she can give the raw material varying degrees of opacity and translucency. The layers she creates in her pieces are intended to bring the layers of the psyche to life. The textures are not merely symbolized, but present on the canvass, inviting the viewer to dig into them, in a silent archeology, in search of meanings to what is seen. The impulse to dive into the surfaces she creates is carefully orchestrated by a play with aerial and standing perspectives.
The work is decidedly three-dimensional and demands a live experience - it is impossible to perceive the paintings’ rich textures by seeing them online or in print.The unique combination of elements Silvana LaCreta Ravena brings to her work—artistic, personal, and professional — gives her the credibility of an original.
While each individual piece of hers certainly “speaks for itself,” when seen in the context of the artist’s background, ideas, and singular technique, it clearly gains a degree of vitality and significance that indicates the true measure of the work. From her first watercolor at age of four to the thesis she wrote for her last degree, her education, life experiences and her professional endeavors have been synthesized with her art practice, serving as its natural background.
(Adam Eisenstat is a journalist specialized in art from PA, USA.)