I’m so excited to be showing with a great group of artists at the Museum of Culture & Environment, Central Washington University.
Liberty Denied: Immigration, Detention, Deportation collects work that explores the challenges experienced by immigrants, with a focus on the Pacific Northwest.
An opening reception is planned for September 29 at 5:30pm. The show runs through December 10th.
The Museum of Culture & Environment at CWU is located at Dean Hall, 1200 Wildcat Way, Ellensburg, WA.
The Museum is open Wednesday-friday from 11am-4pm, and Saturday from 10am-3pm.
I wanted this art journal to be really honest, and explore the idea of borders beginning with the most elemental borders there are, not just in the obvious nationalistic or political ones. After my skin, the senses. After the senses…the orifices.
9/11 always takes the wind out of my sails. It boggles my mind a whole generation has only known this country at war. I’ve been painting but otherwise coiled into my inner corners like a closed box.
Here is the beginning of Chapter 2 of the Migrations Journal. Titled Parinamavada, it’s all about the numinous border between the outside and inside of the body– our senses. The ultimate infiltrations, the outer entering our inner self.
The poetry here is mine, and begins with musings over the immaterial senses.
This question about whether perception is passive or active is highly significant. The observer’s effect in Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle is not just an aberration of quantum physics.
It’s true we don’t inhabit the quantum field. We move about and occupy an Einsteinian universe, but tell me you’re behavior doesn’t respond to the gaze of a hostile party if you’re an undocumented immigrant, or person of color, or LGBTQIA? Yeah, the observer’s effect is quite palpable in this universe.
Where is my consciousness, in my mind, my heart, my digestive system? Is it in the fabric of my community, is it an aggregate response to my perceptions and yours?
That uncertainty again…if reality and memory shift, where is that border?
Here’s hoping you had a fun Labor Day! Here are the last four double page spreads in chapter 1 of the Migrations Journal. Stay tuned, chapter two is next!
Years ago I rescued an art encyclopedia from certain recycling. Bits and pieces of its pages end up in prints and sketchbooks. Here, one of these pages serves a fun and (secret) bit of self-reflection. After all, encyclopedias and art archives are “astonishing Human arrangements” in their own right!
Of course, unlike Milosz, my cathedral is not a church. And the prayers I preserve have more to do with the art museum and art center than anything else.
I love to sketch hands from paintings and sculptures on display in museum collections. I feel they reach out to us in a kind of frozen urgency, pointing and pivoting so that we too can follow in that endless procession that began when our most ancient ancestors plastered their hands on a cave wall.
Isn’t art or creative expression, whatever form it takes, a borderline between our minds and flesh? That’s our meeting place, where thought is transmitted through the senses.
And that’s where we’ll meet next, in chapter two.
Onwards, deeper inside The Migrations journal, chapter 1, entitled Vinyasa.
In yoga, a vinyasa is a coordinated set of movements, usually linked by the breath. In my journal breathing is a metaphor for spirit or life-force, for when we give up the breath that is when we die.
Milosz was Catholic, as was I once upon a time, and in these verses he explores the rituals and symbols of communal worship. I miss that feeling of union, but much rather be alone and true than fake it.
Three more double page spreads from inside The Migrations journal, chapter 1.
Reflecting on Milosz’s verses as a metaphor for migration the first layer of meaning strikes a universal cord. Whether we are firmly rooted in our birthplace or have been cast by destiny or choice into the role of wanderer, who hasn’t felt adrift sometime?
Who hasn’t lacked for connection, felt the agonizing lack of trust, of the disintegration of stability that arrives with religious disillusion? All are forms of being adrift.
I love the small pop up here. It was a small bit of copper-bling paper found in the pile of scraps littering the printmaking studio. Kinda kitsch so why not use it as an extra challenge? Then that wonderful green patina from where the water based inks bled through the coating…real copper! What a rich reward for the small risk.
These four pages in the Migrations journal illustrate how using a variety of pop ups and paper colors or textures inside a standard sketchbook presents the artist with interesting visual and conceptual challenges. In these two page spreads I continued to use repetition of verses and images to move Czeslaw Milosz’s text and my drawings along even as I drew from memories and source photos I’d taken as visual prompts for this journal.
I really liked the see-saw effect of this spread.
I’d sketched commuters for this book and taken pictures of my husband and me walking, and of him driving while we traveled. I felt that images of migration from one place to another would serve as a metaphor for the connections between how our consciousness/ soul travels in and out of our liminal states…like during contemplation, dreaming, or even drawing. Why do we travel like that? Is it ever possible to really know our destination? A place, a truth, or another.
The Migrations Journal is divided into three chapters. Here are a few more pages from the first chapter, meditating on a poem that I’ve carried with me for nearly 20 years. I love Milosz’s poem, Consciousness. All the centuries of dualistic mind-body contradiction rebuked by a simple declaration “I–consciousness– originate in skin.” It’s practically tantric!
As you can see, the journal has many pop up pages that open to reveal more quotes. Sometimes they move the narrative along, other times skip forwards or repeat a verse, like a kind of poetic aphasia. It’s not just about wanting to embed the verse, or remember it. Rather that the desire to touch, to connect, is one that we often fail at as we migrate between between mythos and cultures.
I’m never too far from a sketchbook or journal. Unless I’m crafting a handmade book. Here is an art journal that’s a bit of a hybrid. It’s organized into chapters, but the imagery inside each chapter follows my stream of consciousness and focus. Just like a regular sketchbook. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll post a few pictures of the journal for you. It’s a little bit like a pop up in that it opens up in many pages.
Chapter 1: Vinyasa. I practice yoga and as I meditated on the idea of migration thought that the layering of image (body) and poetry (breath, spirit) and the folding/unfolding of pages could be an analogy to the flowing movement of the body and breath in a yoga sequence. I also repeat poetry lines and images like a vinyasa.
The poem I meditate on in Chapter 1 is by Polish writer, Czeslaw Milosz. Actually, his poem Consciousness has influenced me for more than 20 years!
Cleaning out my flat-files…and there it is, Epic 66 from The Men Are From Mars series. I remember drawing my model Tom Ray and realizing how with a plastic sword in hand this middle aged man summoned the kid/hero in himself. He could slay dragons and foes just like the little pirate that lives down the street.
“I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have not really seen, and that when I start to draw an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is.” – Frederick Franck
Yup. Franck is totally right. Drawing is a magical revelation.