Artist Statement

 

A Winged Spark Doth Soar About

A Winged Spark Doth Soar About

 

Coastal Coven

My work for Coastal Coven is an elliptical narrative with a cast of characters stemming from non-existent fairy tales, science fiction books, and 19th century poetry.

I’ve been observing the transformation of book covers from the 70’s through present—by luminary authors such as Ursula K. LeGuin and Madeleine L’Engle. The 70’s covers look markedly more interesting, bearing a pre-digital age quality of artist’s hand and muted palettes. Burst of Harmony So Brilliant is both compositionally referential to the book cover from A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle in 1973 and takes its title from the book’s quote:

“A burst of harmony so brilliant that it almost overwhelmed them surrounded Meg, the cherubim, Calvin, and Mr. Jenkins…we are the song of the universe.”

Another piece, A Winged Spark Doth Soar About, takes its title from an Emily Dickinson poem. As with much of my work, this piece exemplifies my fascination with energy and in this case the harnessing of light. My topographically layered paper children take inspiration from early twentieth century children’s books by Scandinavian author, Elsa Beskow.  Beskow’s books Children of the Forest, The Sun Egg, and Woody, Hazel and Little Pip feature timeless illustrations of imaginary worlds. Victorian fairy painters such as Richard Dadd and John Atkinson Grimshaw also come to mind as relevant artists from the mid-late nineteenth century.

The Ghost Parade depicts a celebration of female revelers celebrating the end of summer into fall. During the Celtic festival, Samhain, it is thought that the spirits or fairies can more easily come into our world.  This piece serves to welcome the forest spirits.

Mummers also references traditions stemming from Samhain, involving people going house-to-house in costume usually reciting verses or songs in exchange for food. My topographically built mummers are derived from an early nineteenth century photograph from the British Isles. The silhouetted forms include a general, a wizard and a soldier.

Our Electric World was begun in 2008 and completed in 2015. Originally influenced by aboriginal artwork, I found the need to add two individuals with what I call positive energy. To this end, I found a photograph of two female roller-skaters from the 70’s. They were close friends and the image had a sense of pure joy—an electric spark emitting something unseen and powerful. The piece is about vibrant friendship.

A wolf tree is a tree that grows in an open area such as a field or pasture. Most wolf trees are huge and dwarf other trees— stealing their nutrients and sunlight. Frequently wolf trees are struck by lightning being the only tree in an open field.  My piece Wolf Tree depicts two witches seeking shelter under a wolf tree at sunrise.

All of the works that I have included in Coastal Coven relate to one another by way of narrative. One piece hung next to another gives a particular story, which is interchangeable if rearranged. For instance, Wolf Tree next to A Winged Spark Doth Soar About might mean that the witches are potential threat to the children or possibly that the lightning bugs caught in jars will keep the witches at bay.

I wish to invite my audience to interpret the link between images and create their own narratives.

 

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