Theraiult’s pastel patterned paintings and sculptures incorporate a mélange of references and materials. At the center of this media mishmash is the entrepreneur and spiritual leader Supreme Master Ching Hai, whose effigy appears in each of the presented paintings. “Supreme Master,” as her followers call her, is a Vietnamese author and teacher of the Quan Yin Method of meditation. However, through her religious teachings, she has cultivated a successful personal brand that includes an impressive bibliography of over 50 books, an international restaurant and fashion enterprise, and meditation centers across the US.
Her image appears throughout Theriault’s new paintings, and in each instance, is qualified and defined by various references floating through the artist’s mind and work. These qualifiers that accompany her aura are both visual and material: photographs and magazine cutouts, painted and collaged symbols, and graphic words all comingle with and define her portrait. As these references build up, they become like accessories, adorning the surface of the painting as one might adorn a body, an approach that the artist identifies as Egyptian. The resultant works become a meditation on carefully cultivated lifestyle brands, differing definitions of the spiritual, and meditation itself. Similarly, the artist’s Baby Stack sculptures layer and fuse flattened cigarette packs, glitter, cement, and saturated pastel paint colors, bringing together Pop and Assemblage sensibilities for a result that is simultaneously analogue and discernibly of our digital age.