(return to gallery home)
For “Stations of the Cross” installation
Watercolor, paint marker, sealed in acrylic
16″ x 24″
Dear Martha, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your website with me. You’ve probably been wondering why I didn’t comment on it. I’m going to be completely truthful. It’s been a good, but crazy busy summer, and I couldn’t find your little card and was embarrassed to tell you so. I finally found it! I knew it HAD to be in my purse, and today it emerged from the little notebook that I love to write in but seldom allow myself to use because the paper in it is so beautiful. SO–it was in my purse all along.
I love the idea of art as puzzles. I have so many questions for you like: Who are Agie and Robin? Did you put raising two kids on your short list? I don’t have kids but think that is one of the biggies . . . . .so is standing by the bed of the dying . . . .I’m going to think about making my own short list. BUT–the first image I chose to download was the one about the weeping women as it’s relevant to my own passions–trying to uncover the very vital roles that women played in the early Christian movements; the way in which women, too, model the image of God and the need for using feminine imagery for the divine to make that connection clear; and bringing the voices of early Christian texts long suppressed but newly discovered again to life again. Thank you for highlighting this important passage. The choice of these particular verses makes me think about how much there is to weep for in our own day and age with respect to women and their children and the very way in which they get turned into deadwood through discrimination, assault, and abuse of all kinds. Thank you for highlighting this. I’d love to hear your own interpretation.
Thank you for the interesting comments. I see we have much in common concerning the state of the world and the realities of women of faith! My summer has been hectic too and I have not made many posts as a result. We also have a common friend in Marg; she is another extraordinary and brave women of faith and an artist in her own right.
To answer some of you questions: I dont have my kids on the list because I view them as separate persons from me and of course they are central to my and my husband’s life; as are friends and other humans:-) and in some real ways I am not certain what impact they have had on me as an artist; being a mother has been a real barrier to being an artist. They are a blessing but it takes time and strength. Plus we run a business, farm, and self employment is demanding; like good Midwesterners we try to work ourselves to death. The Art’s, have a pretense of liberal values with regard to gender which is thin and often false; human males have a much easier time getting recognition and pay then women. Women artists make 30% of the earnings of our male colleagues, as one example.
Today as women I think we are not really aware how deep the bias’s go and still have to fight to be taken seriously. Christ himself did not hold such bias and often the most important parts of the faith were illustrated with women. Such as the Samaritan women at the well in John 4; she becomes the spokesperson of the faith to her people. Or the bleeding women who touched his robe to be healed. Women were always present in his ministry and find the open empty tomb. These Gospel lessons are slow to be absorbed for humanity, Or from the Old Testament such as Deborah from Judges. It has been my good fortune to teach adult bible studies for a number of years. The un-Christian ‘Christian Right’ thinks they own scripture and they abuse it perilously.
Human nature being what it is ‘might makes right’, the human male is bigger, more aggressive and stronger and can easily use that to make their lives easier. I also think that men don’t understand how violence is a central part of their sexual nature and how our fallen state causes them to fall victim to this weakness. Men like to control and will use whatever gives them advantage. God gives us thought and reason and choice, and men cant see how war and murder are as much part of their out of control sexuality as women being ‘total bitches’ at that ‘time of the month’ and ‘hormonal’ weak, sluts, emotional creatures. I find it hilarious that women are characterized as slaves to our hormones, but we also need to stop behaving as Lady MacBeth’s too.
Motherhood is culturally characterized as sort of a sacred act, which men want to control also. I am not a reproductive appendage for a man and men need to be equally responsible for the children they bring into this sad hard world. I am blessed to be married to a man who gets this, but I would never have had children with a man who didn’t. Which leads me to my idea that women need to stand up and demand our equal place at the table or battlefield (I don’t believe war solves anything or is moral, my Christian heritage is Quaker). I am deeply dismayed at the turn of USA politics/culture, and citizen’s of good conscious will have to stand up for the health of this country.
(Aggie) Agna Nilsson Cameron and Robert Angus Cameron are the two main characters from my novella ‘A Better Memoir’, it is sort of a soapy romance that examines interpersonal relations, passions, and love. Centrally it is Rob that wants children and to have them with Aggie; she is deeply ambivalent about children. It is set in the years from 1985 to 2016 and follows their family life division and reconnection. I don’t find visual art therapeutic, it is hard work, but writing fiction is for me, a release. At 54, (vintage 1962) years of age I am looking back on life and teasing out meaning. I find that the stories give me endless ideas for imagery. I enjoy the challenge of rendering what I imagine the characters are doing. I see the narrative and it’s characters in my mind vividly.
Being born in 1962 has always intrigued me. Baby Boom Late or the next generation? My dad served old at 35 in WW II, so I class myself as late Baby Boom. I grew up with the mass culture of youth but not the optimism of JFK boomers. Mine was the reality of Bobby K., JFK, Martin, dying violently, and Viet Nam which my brother went to, and suffered an early death as a result; Overdose deaths of cultural icons, Joplin, Morrison and riots. I have lost 5 family members to addiction; my older sibs and cousins enjoyed the hippie peace and love and pot; and I saw the downside as some slid into addiction. I was and still am a member of the Punk generation and went to school for delinquents court ordered. Punk meaning empty and empty rebellion. The philosophic approach to visual art of my era (BFA 1987) was post-modernist, and I have a good understanding of it’s implications. I think the distaff from the 1960’s and 70’s, it made late boomers more materialistic, more cynical, and attracted to pleasure and ease; since social change seemed impossible. Evil human nature likes fast solutions easy answers ‘build a wall’, or get rid of Jews Gays, Seventh Day Adventists, illegals, what ever group is easily targeted. Expediency is a great temptation to ghastly sin.
As for ‘visual art as a puzzle’ all art is an abstraction or product of imagination and the color form and line tell stories some seem easy to grasp like a narrative ‘girl in pretty sunlight pets dog’. but even surface meaning is laying above cultural visual clues and agreed meanings that deserve to be examined critically. From my work in the Wailing Women the expressions on the faces are to reflect conflicting reactions. Anger remorse and despondency. From visual art there is the pleasure of looking at color and form and how it makes us feel. What shared understanding is the images, and comfort is what people seek from art Robert Kincade ‘The Painter of Light’ is an easy example of popular art that reflects troubling trend of escapism and dangerous sentimentality. Fortunately the lively arts on TV are examining life’s grey areas and troubles; plus people watch and talk thoughtfully about the meanings. Art is the place we can address life in all its complexity, safely, it is Artificial not real. Our culture’s embrace of anti-intellectualism is a big part of why we cannot advance. Climate change, medical care costs, education, equal rights all are burdened by retreat to magical thinking (Jesus riding a dinosaur, climate change not real) I am sure you can bring to mind many examples of such bad reasoning.
Deb thanks again for your interest and reading this lengthy reply. I do go on… It is not an easy time to make static images as I do; we live in a chaotic moving world with totally new visual platforms cropping up daily. I seek to find if a still, crafted, unique image, matters. The thousands I saw at the Art Institute Chicago says it must; just wish it did more so for living artists.
God Bless you and yours,
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