A grid generally has little significance: lines crossed and crossing, a symmetrical
pattern; no imagination. Simple symmetry. Yet a subtle shift, a bit of curve and flow, and the grid vanishes, becomes latticework, a very different experience.
These latticeworks belong to a series that seemed to emerge from the paper and
swim, or float, in various directions. They are an exercise in circles and lines, using few colors (albeit my favorites). I get the sense that the images were born as inside/outside vying for expression.
The latticework is reminiscent of Lorca’s poem, “La monja gitana” [‘The gypsy nun’]. It seals the woman inside the convent, protecting from being ravaged by things or persons outside. It also seals her in the tomb of four walls and makes her heart burst with the desire to be with others, or another.
This is my world as well. Lust for living an active life, knowing it brings danger and
perhaps death. We must penetrate that outer world if we are to live, however. We
seep through the panes or grating into the exterior, taking chances, fearing yet
needing. There is still the option of retreating, taking up residence in the inner
world, watching and enjoying solitude. The image that comes from this inner vision may be distorted, but it is less disturbing. The semi-straight lines lend order, and assume lesser or greater degrees of luminosity. The lines tie life, and us, together, like a tapestry one weaves, or a shawl one crochets. Lines like fibers, the links between inner eyes and outer eyes that scan space to see what is there.
These four pieces, then, are both inner and outer visions. They are hopeful, trusting in light and hues to keep everything on an even keel. Some show a stormier sea; others are peaceful, resilient. In these prints and their companions in the series, each line, each angle and wave of the latticework, are unplanned, are gifts.
Waking or dreaming, the world that is within us is closest to the
heart of the artist. One is never constrained by space and time or
the concrete “reality” of our lives. The poet Seamus Heaney’s grave
marker says “Walk on air in spite of your better judgment.” Walking
on air, going deep within our psyches, dreaming, trusting our inner
visions, are really the fabric we use to weave our art. These are the
warp and woof of our creations.
‘My current work is created from the ‘inside out’…I have no idea what the finished piece will look like when I start. I build it in layers. While the inks are still wet I drip absorbent ground gesso and bright acrylic paints from a sharp stick onto the image. When the paints are dry I further define the image.
I do not have a ‘vision’ of what the painting will be when I start it…it sort of works itself out as I go along…’
Humor Keeps the Balance
White humor, black humor, and all the shades in between, give me balance and help me carry on. These days it seems like every waking moment is flooded with crazy, scary, unbelievable news that you couldn’t on a good day, make up. My focus and inspiration for my art for as long as I can remember is the magic in nature. The perfect ecological balance is extraordinary when one gets to witness the amazing evolution that exists everywhere allowing species of all types to flourish and survive. Couple that with our species and what we are doing to the planet and the emotions generated for me are anger and despair at our greed and stupidity.
I recently finished a book and art show on Balance & Imbalance, A Celebration of Nature and a Call to Action, which made me feel empowered. Briefly I felt like I was contributing to waking up the public to climate change and human caused environmental degradation, at the expense of the perfect balance in nature. However after the project was complete I found myself in a strange dark empty place. Too dark for creativity to makes its way in. I knew just enough about the consequences of our behavior to need to retreat and rest from our wayward ways. Nothing happened for about a month, which was fine with me since by then I was out of my funk and into a state of wonderment about what would be coming next. What followed happily was the need for the positive to feed the spirit. Straight ahead humor or laced with irony always has its rewarding results. I decided to research exotic insects, which I found to be absolutely amazing! The patterns, colors, textures and designs I found where brilliant at fooling a viewer like me. I saw all kinds of creatures within the insects that I’m sure in nature were used to inflate its presence in order to ward off predators or impress a mate. They all seem to have the ability to transform themselves. The insects have redirected my art into a playful amusing realm which definitely feeds off the magic in nature and is helping to keep me balanced.
In my childhood, there was art everywhere, art books, and music. Encouraging, yet intimidating. My grandfather etched. A fine draughtsman, he could portray people, animals, landscapes, and made one masterly seascape, “typhoon” a three-masted ship in a ferocious storm. A self-made man, he didn’t understand fear or hesitancy. I was gifted with the ability/facility to draw, but the desire to push it, pursue it, to make drawings or something else into an expression of feeling didn’t come until much later. Retreating into books was a safety zone. Cultivating the inner world, wild and never-ceasing adventures, exotic worlds and vicarious emotional shocks.
Well-intentioned parents sent me to Catholic Schools. They were blissfully ignorant of the flavors of tyranny which prevailed. The whole of the experience wasn’t entirely black; there was humor and nurturing and some excellent teaching, here and there. Once my critical mind developed, I had to distance myself from the power structure and bureaucracy, the terrors of punitive sisters and the confessional. I packed away the beauty of the music and rituals and peculiar splendor of churches with their creaking pews and musty incense-scented interiors. Those memories metamorphosed into the thread of my fascination with a byzantine past.
I got a 35mm camera and learned how to use it. Outside of my books, now really traveling – experiencing the soaring high baroque music and architecture, my optical cortex violently stimulated by Moorish tiles, tapestries, perfect stone apses, universal patterns cross time and cultures. I was dumbstruck witnessing Russian iconography alongside the ludicrous omnipresent wealth of religions.
While still letting light fill the lens, presently I’m compelled by images that invoke the divine, to continue to expand my understanding of what, in heaven or earth, it might be.