I am honoured to have my work in an exhibition at the Slide Room Gallery, 2549 Quadra str, Victoria BC, Canada; opening on February 16th at 6pm.
Learn more via the Facebook event page or Slide Room Gallery website.
At various stages of my painting’s evolution, different genres have suggested themselves- landscape, figurative, abstract, floral- and approaching resolution the painting, rather than having become one or the other, remains “all of the above.”
The other day on Facebook I came upon an excerpt of a TS Eliot poem and as I read, I felt it to be a description of the themes that are on my mind as I attend to my new work, particularly of this painting. It is the poem Burnt Norton, one of the suite “The Four Quartets.”
Here are a few excerpts:
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
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.
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And the old made explicit, understood
In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
The resolution of its partial horror.
Yet the enchainment of past and future
Woven in the weakness of the changing body,
Protects mankind from heaven and damnation
Which flesh cannot endure.
The whole poem can be read here.
How touched I am this Christmas to be reminded of the beautiful German hymn,
Es Ist Ein Ros Entsprungen. I am in the midst of my new work- roses that speak of the presence of love in the midst of darkness. The words of this song speak of how love remains tender and vulnerable even as it provides antidote to what is harsh and violent.
Listen to, and watch the Gesualdo Six perform their beautiful rendition here.
I have taken as reference my own photos of roses and am hand transposing the shapes and contours onto large paper and working with ink. I have a love of repetition- perhaps it was having visited fabric stores with my mother and gazing at myriads of patterns. I look at what is emerging in these pieces and I think of the interior of home, of the heart; stars, voices, faces, love; graffiti on the Reichstag, the Vietnam war memorial in Washington; I think of Germans who died- especially women – who sought to resist the Nazis through humanitarian means.
As curator for the Stairwell Gallery I am absolutely thrilled with the work BOXCARSIX produced in response to the themes embedded in the Easter story. Their work brings a depth of understanding and originality to a time of year that like Christmas, can easily be taken for granted.
Read more about the work here, and follow BOXCARSIX on Instagram.
The symbol of love, the rose is also the symbol of struggle and suffering; of being brave and facing the dark. Look how it is used as a motif in fairy tales- the rose that precipitates the dark tale of the Beauty and the Beast; the prince who wakes the Sleeping Beauty has to find his painful way through a wall of briar roses, the young prince who wishes to rescue Rupunzel falls on a rose bush and is blinded; the roses that bloom red and one white at the very end of suffering in the story of the Wild Swans. In my reading about those who faced the fascist regime in Germany it also became a symbol of resistance.
As well as my friends Heather and Clare who came in to help with photographs and taking down high pictures respectively, ( thank you!)
I had one last visitor to the show.
As she was leaving a car with her husband in tow, we saw each other through the window and we smiled. I was surprised when she came to the door. “You had such a nice smile I just had to come and say hello……..We are going to the Vimy Ridge 100 year Remembrance ceremony.”
She asked about what was happening in the space and then looked up and saw the title of the show. “Oh….The Other Side of War.” She looked at me and with a sigh told me her father had fought at Vimy.
He was fortunate to have survived yet had been shot in the hip, an injury that caused him pain all his life even though he recovered enough to return home. He would cry out in pain in the middle of the night.
I am not sure entirely how we ended the conversation other than that we hugged at some point, and then, as she left to join her husband she blew me a kiss.
I felt blessed to the core.