Eugene Sarmiento is a visual artist living in Lexington, KY. Eugene received his BFA from the University of Texas Arlington in Printmaking and his MFA from the University of Kansas in Printmaking and Drawing. He enjoys spending time in gardens smelling the roses and drawing them, listening to Outkast in the studio, admiring the works of William Blake, and making zines about time’s perpetual existential dread.

Artist Statement 

My work is driven by ideas of existence, in terms of finding purpose, disconnection of reality and grappling with the notion that my life (every life) becomes just a speck in an infinite line of time. What is the driving force to keep, keeping, keepest of every tender heart sane, every action pure and every interaction purposeful?

Throughout the past few years I have been trying to achieve the impossible task of extracting soul, an essence, from my daily observations. The daily observations of the swaying trees, the howling sun and finding more and more connections to the living objects with the shortest life span. Working on this impossible task, I’ve become infatuated with the act of observing the life cycle of flowers and associating them to how life must feel like. The petals bloom, dry and fall from the foundation of the stem to later become a life source for the next generation. I use flora as a universal signifier to the fragility of life, the beautiful ever expanding, regenerating being. My life is currently at the stage where the oldest of family members are passing. Reflection of memories are the only thing that keeps keeping, and the unsettling realization that my parents are in that line, and soon I too will become a heavier thought. 

Within the work, I have a recurring image of a malleable mound with orifices as sight. I refer to this entity as SOUL. SOUL creates soul, has the power to shape the landscape of reality, bring purpose of existence and be a conductor of the energy called life. Soul is in contention with the human flesh as to who the role of the vessel belongs to. Soul shapes to any setting. The fluidity of the soul fills every crevice, gap, wound opening needing mending.

I question what pursuits become important. What takes top priority as purpose- measures of success, happiness, measures of just being, what significance we have with others. Hubris gets in the way of finding a worth and a shallow worth is assigned with the thoughts of just believing we (I) are so important, we (I) are everything.