21 December 2016

Written on Water


Dark Reflection, 2016. Graphite & oil on wood panel, 11x14"

Though I have been working with riverine imagery for several years, last Summer I participated in my first show on the theme- "Montana Water" at Collage Gallery in Bigfork. Paintings in this show revealed my varied interests in these settings.

In a statement for the exhibition I wrote:

In its falling, flowing and flooding, water crosses borders. Essential to all life, it both resource and refuge. We seek it with physical need and sensual pleasure. Water flows in cultural imagination too, as metaphor and site of myth. So water also crosses time. Through these various qualities, as well as the wonders of reflection, water intrigues me as an artist.

Plank, 2016. Graphite & oil on wood panel, 16x20"
Freshet I, 2016. Graphite & oil on wood panel, 8x10"
Freshet II, 2016. Graphite & oil on wood panel, 8x10"
As examples of the mythic allusions I've made through the water, "Leda's Escape" is a revision of the Classical myth in which Zeus takes the form of a swan to accost Leda. "Attendants" (below) relates to the biblical tale to Moses with his sister Miriam and the pharaoh's daughter's handmaiden in attendance to his woven ark. 
Leda's Escape, 2016. Graphite & oil on wood panel, 16x20"
Attendants, 2015. Graphite & oil on wood panels, each 16x10"
A small study: Seeker, 2016. Graphite & oil on wood panel, 7x11"

At the riverside one is bound to find water birds. Among the most majestic here in the Rocky Mountain West is the Great Blue Heron. For me these birds embody a sort of fierce patience. I marvel at how still they hold, how closely they watch, even on this most frigid days.

Vigilant, 2016. Graphite & oil on wood panel, 20x16"
Poise, 2016. Graphite & oil on wood panel, 30x20"
I take great pleasure in subordinating the human drama to the presence of other creatures, like a heron or swan in the foreground. However, there is something evocative about a character engaged with water alone that calls me back to the wading scenarios again and again. What must we wade into? What do we find ourselves wallowing in, intentionally or not? The slough as a backwater, or at least a slow moving water way suggests a calm state, but perhaps some stagnancy too.

Slough I, 2016. Graphite & oil on wood panel, 20x10"

Slough II, 2016. Graphite & oil on wood panel, 20x10"






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An artist living and working in Missoula, Montana.