Saturday, January 28, 2012


This painting will be included with the show in the Focus Room at the Noyes Gallery in Lincoln through the month of February.  In preparing work to take east, I was stymied by titling this piece.  Last night I was down to "Doorway", but not satisfied.  Today, listening to American Public Media's Being, I heard an interview with John O'Donohue, an Irish poet, philosopher, and Catholic priest.  One of his books, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, is reviewed at Amazon by Kerry Walters, who quotes the introduction:
In our overly busy culture, he writes, we frequently race over the "crucial thresholds in our life" without pausing to take note of their significance. We no longer have "rituals to protect, encourage, and guide us as we cross over into the unknown" (p. xiv). A blessing is precisely one of those protecting, encouraging, and guiding rituals. It memorializes our transitions, connects us with a wider community (since none of us really ever travels alone), and strives to "present a minimal psychic portrait of the geography of change it names" (ibid).
I am struck by this spiritual use of the term "threshold" much more descriptive and less cliche than "doorway to the future".  This painting is one of my simplest collages.  The background is created using Citrisolv to alter the printed images on clay based magazine papers and create the ethereal pathways and bubble formations.  Black marker highlights some of the shapes.  The large rectangle and cross-hatched lines are from my favorite tissue, painted with black gesso and dry brushed with copper acrylic.  The texture of this tissue suggests tree roots, or blood vessels.  Serendipitous results of the experimental techniques used here could be symbolic of "crossing over into the unknown" a changing geography. 

It brings to mind a friend who is in treatment for cancer.  A month ago, she was afraid of the unknown, but now, 4 weeks into treatment, is realizing a wider community of others who are experiencing the same things, and others who are there to help her.  We should have created a blessing ceremony or party to recognize the threshold she had to cross as she started into this chapter of her life.  It's never too late to start a ritual.

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