Sorrow and joy. Pain and beauty. Shadow and light. Isolation and love.
I think people who know me well would say I have a hyper-sensitivity to these dualities. I experience them in my own life and I feel them in others’ lives when I am a witness. The apparent conflict of these things appears in my work — a serene sunset includes some hint of stormy skies, the flowers that feel the most alive to me show some vulnerability and impermanence, songs I write or listen to have pleasing melodies with sad lyrics. Even the books I’m reading (Moby Dick, Steppenwolf) and art filling my studio (Twombly, JMW Turner) capture this tension.
By immersing myself in this duality rather than avoiding the parts that are uncomfortable, what I am learning is that they are not two opposing things but rather one in the same – a wholeness. I have come to believe that when we deny either extreme, we start to lose our wholeness as human beings. It doesn’t mean life is easier knowing this — living dualities is always hard especially when they are intense and extreme. But I do believe there is a peace to find by allowing the opposing energies to flow. There is also a responsibility that comes with this awareness that takes constant attention – how do I choose to show up in the face of the dualities I notice and even create for myself in life?
My art and studio practice is my way of allowing these energies to flow – which is why I see it as healing. My hope is that others will eventually find the same comfort in the works that led me to create them in the first place.
Here is a sampling of work (a bit varied) that has been going on in the studio the past month:
1. Reviving my sketchbook practice…
2. Stonebreakers (my women warriors) keeping me company in the studio…
3. Stormy sunsets (2 works still in progress 40 x 40 inches each)
4. Isolation and love (2 works still in progress 40 x 15 inches each)