The title of this piece is taken from the opening lines of a W.B. Yeats poem; describing in apocalyptic terms the spiraling out of order into chaos, I was reminded of the pacific trash gyre and the kaleidoscopic patterns of current. While the imagery of this painting presents a tangible environmental anchor to the dream of entropic undoing, I see in these symbols an equal connection to the realms of spirit and metaphor. The endangered marine life depicted in the piece is both a literal representation of an ecosystem caught in a spiral of extinction, and also ourselves, caught in ever remoter turnings of collective action. Swept into great movements of which we are both fisher and quarry, the animals are the titanic ghosts of our collective unconsciousness, rushing towards an unknowable end. There is beauty here too however, as even in the moment of the onrush, we are left as observers of an ineffable beauty that extends into, and transcends, the gyre.
Almost finished with my PDXWLF installation! You can see it from Feb 3rd – 11th.
Opening night on Feb 3rd First Friday will also include open studios, live music, and fire dancing.
“Brightly shining from within, the installation imagines the tangible reality of ocean pollution as the dream landscape of our civilization. Gently breathing, the assemblage is both the physical and psychological flotsam of our interconnected civilization. Swimming in endless waves of plastic particulate and glowing trash, viewers will be invited into the luminous ghost net of recovered marine debris and metaphysical light.”
I’m excited to be teaching an upcoming workshop at Earth Space PDX! The 3 hour class will focus on practical and psychology techniques for creating art. Oil paint and other supplies will be provided. Visit the the sign-up page for more details.
Had a great time talking with John Teply as part of For the Seventh Generation. John is a great interviewer, and it was wonderful to be able talk a bit about the the role of chaos in the creative process, working internationally in areas of conflict, and the importance of environmental preservation.
I’m happy to announce that I’ll be part of The Seventh Generation project this year. My piece, Perpetua, was completed plein air at the Strawberry Hill Wayside on the Oregon coast. I’m excited to be a part of this amazing conservation project, and I will be giving a talk on during the opening night in Lincoln City.
“For The Seventh Generation is about connecting with place over time. We are forming a one-hundred year arts organization whose reason for being is the ocean. We want to make art that functions at the center of human life, not at its edges. Our showcase event is the For The Seventh Generation Project, The one-mile Pano-Mural for the Washington, Oregon, and California coasts. Our guiding sentiment is “Above all else, a healthy ocean.” The lengthy time aspect referred to by the title is from a notion that we need to think within a longer time frame to address our problems. We need to make choices not just for ourselves an our generation, or for our children or even our grandchildren, but to acknowledge that this is the only planet that any of us will ever have, for all species, for all life, and that we share this planet with the future. Our decisions should reflect that.”
The concept of sanctuary contains in it an implicit ideal of separation, for the raising and bracing of barriers to persevere against the storms of the world. This urge for preservation is both understandable and necessary; even as a concept of self can not exist without walls to define itself, so too is our mutable physical existence tied to it. Sanctuary represents protection, and the pain and tumult of the greater totality threatens us with consumption and annihilation in its absence.
It must be remembered however that all forms of separation are ultimately illusionary, and the aegis of sanctuary is a transient shroud. Threads of eternal interconnection exist between all phenomenon, with lines of distinction in constant flux by the building deluges of change. In the face of such inevitability, sanctuary can with equal measure become an attempt to impose stasis on a process of transformation. A clinging that creates barriers not just between self and pain, but also between ourselves and the ability to transcend it.
Instead, in recognition, not denial, of the inherent unity of existence can we expand the self beyond both sanctuary and destruction. True sanctuary is found in the recognition of transience and an embrace of dissolution. Then it is possible for the momentary spark of consciousness to recognize its mirror in the towering inferno of the world. Then we may burn the walls of our sanctuary and exist as the light and flame. In doing so the broken shard of self is lost in unity with laughing epiphanies of storm.
Initially the world comes to us through a flood of light and sensation. It is only through a patchwork heritage of cognitive frameworks that the dream coalesces into meaning and narrative. Such schemas are ultimately built on conceptual categorizations of like and unlike that exist to separate the ocean of interconectedness into understandable types. Though they provide us a tower from which to preserve a concept of self from the deluge of unfiltered unity, at their heart they remain illusionary divisions.
Despite attempts to map the unknowable expanse of reality, the totality of existence is axiomatically itself rather than the means used to perceive it. When, however, in the face of our greater humanity, the pursuit of the ideal takes precedence over the real an unavoidable conflict occurs. No matter the passion or progress made in pursuit of the ideal, the reality of the world unavoidably diverges and it is often our reaction to this shortcoming that forms the ultimate outcome of our pursuits.
Without a radical acceptance of the world in its totality means quickly descend into ends, and in our yearning for imagined futures we lose the only methods capable of bringing about the change we desire. Rejection of the world instead cyclically recreates the circumstances of our dissatisfaction. It is only through a recognition of the inherent unity of existence beyond delusions and conceptualizations that we may achieve the love we seek.
– Originally written for The Love Politik: One World Indivisible