Friday, January 27, 2017

A challenge, a mystery or both

Hello and happy Friday! I missed you last week but felt it was important to participate in the J20ArtStrike against the inauguration of whatshisname. There was no art made or blog posted on January 20th as I took to the streets in protest. I urge you to keep marching, calling, writing, signing, and sharing in order to protect our democracy, but please do something nice for yourself too (read an art blog, for instance). We have a long way yet to go.

This is an art blog, so let's talk about art!

Today marks the 27th day of the distillation process. It seems like just yesterday that I made my first six papers. However, there are now 156 black, white, and ochre pieces piled up high on my studio table that tells me otherwise. The papers crackle as I stack and smooth them at the beginning of each day. The process begins as I take down the previous days finished papers and put them on the stack before I begin again. I tape one paper on my painting wall, work on it until completion, and then move it to the side and back wall to dry. Each day the walls get covered with six more wet and almost tattered papers. The thin paper dries and warps at the edges, it folds, gathers, and at times looks like fabric. Remnants of tape are left behind on the dry corners and are at times found within the piece, hidden under a layer of paint to cover tears and rips, hinting at the action of the process. I love the scars and damages left behind. My studio floor is now black with charcoal dust and I leave dark boot prints everywhere I go.

When this process began, I had no idea where it would take me, or what I might learn or gain from it. The distillation process developed from a deep need to satisfy something within me. Perhaps a challenge, a mystery or both and that's what I got. Just in the past week, working in this way has taken me to a place I haven't been in almost 8 years. The interlocking shapes are fading and the whole paper is being worked. An atmospheric dark beauty that seems to undulate from just under the surface has now arrived. A few dark lines really are enough to please me, why add anything more?

I wanted to relearn something I had forgotten. I wanted to find something I had misplaced. I wanted to give myself the gift of time and exploration. I wanted to dream the wild dreams again. When I show up for myself and my work, extraordinary things happen, the distillation process teaches me this every day and I am grateful.

Until next week, keep fighting!

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