Life is just one long path. Everyone is on some road all the time, we just tend not to give it much thought. Artists have the advantage of being able to physically see how their road varies and twists over time. Their work is a roadmap of their emotional evolution with all the little deviations and adaptions they have experimented with during their journey. The journey can be physically portrayed on a gallery wall to allow for introspection and reflection.
I first noticed this idea after I finished my thesis project, Mythic Journeys Beyond Midnight.
I started a project that used many of the same connections and physical elements of my previous work. However, I wanted to abstract the ideas more focusing on symbolism and tactile elements in presentation such as encaustic wax. My images still had a dreamlike feel, but were more symbolic and connected to the idea of land. We are all connected to the land both physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you have ever been stressed and taken a walk in the woods, you recognize the spiritual connection and release of stress.
So, Land became a project about unseen connections and spirituality. The first eight. images I printed, put on cradle wood boards and used encaustic wax to add that dreamlike separation. I noted that these images were lighter both in feel and color than my last project — moving towards the light, sort of. While working on this project, I started noticing old structures on the land that captivated my attention. They seemed to have a sense of something. Sometimes, it was the element of the unseen while others expressed something in exposure of the elements.
This led to the next project, On the Land. While Land is a more abstracted, symbolic
representation, On the Land is a more physical expression of abstract ideas. Similar ideas but expressed in a sort of flip-flop of technique. The subject matter seems to be moving towards a more representative element and away from the symbolic, though both are symbols in reality.
The third evolution came in the form of a memory. With Land and On the Land, I worked on both projects simultaneously. Then, I found an old image I had taken of a tree that I would see on my walk every day. While working on this image, I started moving in a new direction that included dimensionality. The memory of this tree was both in the past and present. This image had a link to the tree, my memory of the seasons, my walks and of changing of time. I realized, that the tree existed for me symbolically and in the real. It was a connection to place, my memories and to the land around me. The tree became “Memory of a Tree” and a new project was birthed…Place.
As soon as I started working on Place, I stopped working on the Land project. It just felt like I had moved off that pathway and onto a new road.
So Place is more amount memories of places and times. It is an emotional link to our past and events. Fond memories of walks, the sensory beauty of spring, the crispness of winter and falling leaves and of a myriad of other connections that have happened in the area of this particular tree. It is also rooted in the present as I still see this tree daily. There is a history of this tree as it has changed. Other plants have grown up around it and the tree has grown and changed shape. This project has land, objects on the land and elements of fantasy.
I am still adding images to this series, but it is slowly moving out of the picture also. I became engaged with the moon and a sort of painterly feel and started the project “Luna,” which only has four images presently. I am not sure if I will keep adding to it or not.
So Luna was more a diversion with only four images to the series. I am not sure if I will add more or not? It is interesting that in these images I am looking up instead of around me on the ground.
Next, I moved back onto the path with Beyond the Screen Door.
Moving my work back again to a more representational feel with documentary aspects while still keeping elements of the etherial in abstraction and color.
When I started working on this latest work, I looked back at the year’s images and realized that there was an element of the land and how we are connected through memories and other emotional connections. This last project being more like memory polaroids of the area I inhabit. It is both a record and collection of emotions. Looking back at images from 2019, I see how I keep circling around the idea of land, home and memories. The projects bounce back and forth between conceptual ideas and tangible representational elements.
It is record of my time in this place as I work towards moving to a new place. I feel like I have been exploring my connection, history and emotions to where I live in a way to pack them up and move onto something new. I am hoping to move to a new area and start new memories. In this way, these series have allowed me to contextualize my life in order to move to something new.