Sometimes we find ourselves moved to act. The December 2, 2016 fire that destroyed the Ghost Ship artists’ collective in Oakland, California led to the making of this installation, housed in the corner display window of Hoquiam’s LaVogues Building from January 20 to April 25, 2017.
Alight in Winter is dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives in that fire.
Thirty-six paper forms suspended over a bed of ash. At night, battery-operated tea lights illuminate the work.
Recently a friend asked whether I found it strange to send my work into the world without journeying alongside it. Nah, not strange—a thrill! Each piece acts as an emissary, traveling much further than I ever could. These works might not move mountains…but they might challenge minds or move hearts in places I’ll never know firsthand. How cool is that?
Last month Encroachment landed in Decatur, Georgia for Decatur Arts Alliance’s “Book as Art: Boundless” exhibition. If you happen to be in the Peach State this September, swing by the Decatur Library to explore the show. http://decaturartsalliance.org/book-as-art-boundless/
Abecedarian Gallery in Denver, Colorado—operated by Alicia Bailey, herself an accomplished book artist—is one of a handful of galleries devoted to the book arts. They host an annual juried exhibition, with an opening this year planned for September 16. I’m honored that Grief in Five Volumes was accepted.
What nudges the creative impulse? What sustains making? Much of the time, immersion in the world seems enough—to soak up ideas, to notice nuance, to catch the shadings of a cloud’s shadow or the shift of emotion on a stranger’s face. But after all this soaking in, I retreat to the studio to translate what I’ve witnessed into a particular visual language.
Summer hikes through Enchanted Valley (aptly named) and a vigorous scramble to Klone Lakes (a far less poetic moniker for a secluded bliss) offer hue and texture, perspective and retreat. Retreat from the turbulence and anguish of societies in conflict. Sometimes that quiet space is what I hope you find in my art—a sanctuary, a place of peace, a waypost at which to simply “be.” (Some of my artist’s books, in contrast, tend to offer less in the way of comfort…but that’s for another posting…)
For now, rest in the beautiful and gather your strength for life’s arduous—and glorious—struggle.
These words, a Latin translation of the original Greek, are attributed to Hippocrates. In English: “Art is long, life is short.”
Perhaps one of the reasons it took me so long to develop a web presence can be attributed to the second portion of that statement. Life is short. Do I really want to spend my precious time—time that could be spent in the studio or on a wooded path, time that could be used to devour a book or mess about in the kitchen—on figuring out how to present my art and myself (which is essentially “my-art-myself” as a compound word) on the internet? Um, no, not really.
In fact, no, emphatically.
At least that’s what I told myself. The more complicated answer, however, has a lot to do with my cultivated sense of privacy. As an introvert, the last thing I want to do is put myself-my-art on a giant digital billboard, exposed. But here’s the thing: I do want my art to be “long”—to exist outside the boundaries of my mortal life. Whether in tangible form, as a work on a wall or in a library collection, or as a sensation, experienced by a viewer when she feels transported by the colors and the forms, my art (I hope) can have a life beyond my own.
So, here we are, my-art-myself, on display.
But…if art is long and life is short, I’d best get back to making the former. It gives the latter shape, and meaning.