darkness and light
The Three Graces, oil on canvas
I’m having so much fun meeting and working with the folks at the Friends Homes here in Greensboro. It’s a retirement community, based on Quaker principles, full of the coolest retired professors, artists, and authors, most still active in their crafts. As the administrator joked about me being a new resident, I thought of how nice it would be to live there.
When I was asked to do a show at Friends Homes, I was surprised at the work that was chosen. Shame on me for assuming our retired friends would want to see typical soft impressionist landscapes and simple still life paintings. After previously hearing such feedback as: “Your work is too dark; I could never sell that.” and “Oh, That’s kinda crazy…” I’m always surprised when my work is embraced.
As we curated my paintings, a few people examined my work as they walked by, some even laughed, as if they got my private jokes. (Very Cool!) When I stepped back and looked at the combination of paintings that were chosen–some darker, brooding expressionist abstracts, along with some still life paintings from my thesis work regarding Jeff’s suicide, and some lighter abstracts and still life paintings from when things started easing up–I realized this combination of works comprise a journey, through life and death and life.
I wonder why some people don’t see the light in my work; it’s always there, like when you look up at a cloudy sky and you know, you feel, the blue sky and the sunshine behind the clouds.
The opening reception for the Friends Homes show, A Luminous Pause, will be on the afternoon of Friday, October 2nd when I’ll do a short talk and present my artist statement for the show which goes like this:
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
― C.G. Jung
I make paintings–curious objects combined with abstract elements, emphasized by light and shadow. This collection represents a story of great scope, of life and death, a journey through dark grief, while looking toward the light.
Conjuring the melancholy of past desires, abandoned objects ask me to paint them shadowed by the lives of the people who loved and left them. Embodying triumph and tragedy, the objects are all that’s left of those who have gone on. They remind me of what slipped through my hands, a magnificent life no more. They are the last vestige of stories lost once voice is stilled.
Some things just make me smile and beg me to play, like wooden dolls, a vintage firetruck, and a telephone you can’t keep your hands off the dial. I paint those, too.
Navigating the chaotic currents of life, I reach for acceptance, move forward while learning to embrace the mystery of reality, the uncontrollable, the inevitable, and the joyous.
Hello? oil on canvas