There will be a reception to celebrate the artist and her work on Sunday, September 17 at 12:15pm in The Commons. Please join us!
This collection of images really constitutes the debut of a major new direction for me. In the last few years, I’ve found my interest turning much more toward focusing on the forms and moods of natural phenomena rather than on the works of man. I’m endlessly fascinated by the interplay of the the three fundamental components of land, light and water, and the positive effects that can result from the visual experience of their representation. Working with these elements interpretively has also given rise to an unexpected awakening interest in sailing vessels, not only because suddenly I’ve begun to appreciate their inherent aesthetic qualities, but also because of their value as a metaphor. Wind-driven craft are particularly elegant reminders of the possibility of cooperation between Mankind and Nature.
Natural views with lots of sky and water are especially conducive to exploring all sorts of colorful gradations of tone, particularly at dawn and twilight, which are exhilarating to paint. Recently, I’ve been studying the phenomenon of Aurora Borealis–which has been called ” the unpainted subject”–and this exhibition includes my first foray into representing that on a two-dimensional surface; I have many more efforts planned in this line; the color possibilities are a tremendous lure.
There is a collaborative feature in my recent work absent until now: people have been generously sharing their photos of places and phenomena that it’s been a great delight to work with. I never thought of using other people’s pictures (except in the cases of rare commissions in the past) but now I like the idea a lot: it’s growthful and fun when one is presented with new angles and perspectives; and while I take a good deal of liberty with this shared imagery, so far no one has objected to my interpretive treatment of their reference photos.
Now I’ll mention another layer of meaning inherent but not necessarily obvious in my paintings, particularly the natural views. This has to do with both the spiritual qualities and the salutary effects of Nature in general and water in particular. Addressing the last point first, I refer all interested viewers to a wonderful book called The Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols. The subtitle says it all succinctly: “The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do.” Personally, of course, I was very gratified and inspired by the chapter which Nichols had devoted to the demonstrably positive effects of looking at water imagery.
In closing, I would like to quote here from Dr. Huston Smith’s interviews with Bill Moyers in the PBS series called The Wisdom of Faith which is still available on DVD–I’ve watched mine over and over. In this, Dr. Smith, author of The World’s Religions, a standard in the field of comparative religion, was asked to comment on the relationship of religion to science, especially in the context of Academia and higher education. He began his reply by the observation, “The wider the ocean of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of mystery.” I am ever hopeful that my land, light, and water paintings will remind viewers of that mystery, hence the title of this collection.
Prints are (or soon will be) available of all images in this exhibition. Inquires regarding prints, commissions, purchases, instruction or special projects, please contact the artist. Thank you!
–Suzanne B. Siegel