Artist Oriele Steiner has been creating images from a young age as a form of therapy. “I have a very active brain and drawing has been the only thing that I can completely immerse myself in without getting distracted and it makes me happy,” the London-based artist explains.
In her paintings and drawings, Oriele’s figures reveal the narrative and throughout we see a group of women gathered round a warming fire, a lone figure next to a boat and a group of swimmers travelling in unison. The artist’s works often explore the human condition and our ability to feel love, pain, anxiety and suffering. To convey these complexities, the artist uses pastels and oil paints for their uncertainty.
“Once they’re down, there’s no rubbing out or tweaking. So when mistakes happen you just have to roll with them, which stops me from being too much of a perfectionist,” she says. “I’ve never been 100% comfortable with oil paint, I don’t like the mess and I’m not very patient. It’s important for me to get my ideas downs as quickly as possible, however with oil painting the colour is so vibrant and beautiful, it adds another dimension to my drawings.”
Colour plays a big role in the finished pieces. “I make decisions on colour based on the ‘ground’ I use. For example, if I chose a blue piece of paper or painted a blue layer first on a canvas, the colour I use next will be one that complements blue – from there I just let my knowledge of colour and instinct take control,” the artist explains.
Taking inspiration from outsider art, Oriele describes her style as “naive” and coming directly from her imagination, with an added innocence. Referencing day-to-day life and found imagery to give her work some grounding in reality, Oriele is constantly looking at the world around her and thinking of ways to translate it to paper or canvas. “The most important thing for me is the enjoyment and pleasure I get from drawing and painting and hope that people can sense that when they see my work,” she says.
Oriele was selected for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2016 and her work is currently still on show at ICA in London until 22 January 2017.