"You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul."
George Bernard Shaw
It's January. As I write, the sun is shining beautifully through my window. It is the type of January day we don't see often in mid-Michigan. Meanwhile I am preparing for the opening of my upcoming show, Trapped In The Grey.
February seemed like the perfect time to dissect what it feels like to be "trapped in the grey." When you are confronted by feelings of heaviness, weight and darkness. Yet you also know love is all around you. We are all special and have the ability to treat each other that way. And we are responsible for each other.
Yet we have been living through tumultuous times.
I don't see issues in black in white, with clear cut answers, and even my head and heart sometimes seem in conflict. Often what helps me the most is to paint.
My Trapped In The Grey series had a definite starting point. I was walking in Central Park, reflecting on a conversation with my daughters and feeling frustrated with not being able to communicate my emotions clearly. My insides hurt. I felt trapped in recognizing nothing in life is simple. And suddenly a new series was born. I saw it clearly in my mind. Starting with black on one side and white on the other, I would write my emotions onto the canvas. Shards of plexi-glass would be added to the top to allow the viewer to see their reflection in the grey – indicative of the fact we all get trapped.
It, of course, was not that simple. But the muse had struck. I love how the artistic process takes on a life of its own. If you let it.
My good friend and fellow artist, K.W. Bell, is joining me in this show. Karen is a fabulous sculptor. Her sculptures are deep and thoughtful and meaningful.
We both push to communicate our emotions in our art. We both long for something deeper as well - to engage with life and all of its complexities. And we both enjoy the work itself, the process.
It is also such a lovely thing when you get to show with a friend and your work fits together so well.
For years my mom has asked: "Why don't you just paint flowers?" I do. At times. But, to me, art is also about painting the gritty, soulful stuff which helps me feel more alive and helps me learn about myself.
If you are in Lansing in February, please stop by the Michigan Institute for Contemporary Arts (MICA) gallery to see the show. And please let us know if you did. We'd love to hear your feedback.
If you are able to make it to the reception, you'll have a special treat. Karyn Perry from Karyn's Dance Place is working with a group of young dancers to do their own interpretive dancing of what it means to be "trapped in the grey." I can't wait.
I hope you are able to join us. If you live far away, you can see many of my Trapped in the Grey paintings on my website. And please check out Karen's work as well: K.W. Bell.
My love to all,