The realization you are not invincible. Experiencing the simplest joy. Looking squarely at your own mortality. The bore and love of routine. Total loss of control. Undeveloped emotions. Character defects. Loneliness around others. Childhood. Beauty. Shock. Fear. Bliss. All of these ideas are experienced by humans as a whole. And yet, we can only ever feel them alone. Many of these ideas can make us feel alienated, pulling a blinding veil over us and making us believe we are companionless in our experience.
This seemingly simple, and yet deeply confounding truth of how we experience our life is what guided me as I worked on this grouping of paintings called Shared Solitude.
My hope is to have the work act as a mirror to the viewer. As with all art, the viewer will take away from the paintings what they give- their own experiences, feelings, longings, memories, fears, and introspections. Perhaps the paintings will poke and prod for the viewer to look deeper. Sometimes, the paintings may just sit quietly with the viewer, the experience washing over both.
I was highly inspired by the moods in the works of Andrew Wyeth while creating these paintings. There is an unsaid stillness to his work- beauty mixed with sadness mixed with surprise. Something that should be routine becomes special and strange. In an odd way, I can always feel my own feet while I am being led through his paintings. This feels, to me, like a truth, and so I pursued it over the course of the past year, letting it take me wandering through these paintings.
One particular painting, “Les Feux Follets” contains an extra layer of story. My family is Quebecois. I grew up hearing (and piecing together) old folklore tales from their homeland. Les feux follets are actually small fires that are sometimes seen above marshes and sometimes graves. They are thought to be from the gases that escape a body after it has been buried, these small flames spontaneously combusting. There are many tales about these small flames people would see in the night in odd places. One such story was that they were evil spirits looking to harm small children. Both the natural and invented symbolism for this phenomenon fascinates me.
I believe I have become braver as an artist. Subjects that seemed out of reach to me in the past have become forerunners. Images that may be associated to my past work have been unpeeled, abandoned, or rethought. Many of the works in “Shared Solitude” are a sacred act of hope for me- a way for me to feel my own feet as I am guided into new territories.