Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know…….
……The trilling wire in the blood
Sings below inveterate scars
Appeasing long forgotten wars.
~TS Eliot, from Burnt Norton
These expressive ink drawings demonstrate complex feelings and ideas about war, good and evil, loss and hope; about the connection of history to the present, of grief to healing.
There is an ambiguity to these studies of roses from the neighbourhoods in which I spend my days. While making them they began to appear as plumes of bombs seen from above. Sometimes they look like glimpses of landscape from the air through a break in the clouds. I also imagine them as broken voices or wounds; and then, because of the sheen of the ink, they become watermarks of grief.
A perennial symbol of love, the rose is often presented as an image of romantic perfection, yet these roses are set in the midst of a dark ground and are in various states of wholeness, integration and visibility. By reclaiming the image of the rose from a limited, sentimental narrative I am referencing not only personal persistence in the face of suffering but a social activism and idealism that calls upon compassion as the means by which to overcome turmoil, violence and uncertainty.
A Complex Grief was shown at the exhibition Interworld at Arc.hive Artist Run Centre May 3rd to 12th, 2019.