I am writing to you from my studio in the River Arts District on a warm Asheville autumnal afternoon. The window is wide open to the red brick of the building across from me and a beautiful blue sky abounds.
New work has been emerging from my adventures and explorations in Ireland and my continued conversation with the natural world and the intersection of this and the human urban relationship.
Materia will open this Saturday at Artplay gallery and studioswww.artplay-studio.com. firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be original paintings, photographs and a video installation. Come along! I'll be there and the show will run for a month after opening.
Below is a piece of text I have written to offer at the show and wanted to offer something here for those of you further afield and to let you know the show will be available to view online through the Artplay website and works will be for sale online also. I will be offering a zoom experience of the show late in November.
We are connected in a 1000 ways you and me. Now here, you holding this printed paper and I sit over there writing not a half mile away in my studio in the early morning. I just went to the car to get my forgotten mug of tea and a skein of geese flew over my head. I wondered who else they are blessing today, was it you? Tell me where has the water been in this tea in its infinite journey? Have I ever swam in it, did I cry it, did you? Did I breathe this same material of a breath into my branching lungs coming up the stairs today whilst ascending a hill in Ireland. My heart pounding my way up to the 360 view, and a stoat slipping out of a lichen spotted stone wall, in a panic at seeing me doing a strange and wonderful dance, circling itself seven times before disappearing whence it came. Did a hawthorn tree transform my carbon dioxide back to oxygen, and that starry night send it out across the Atlantic with waves at high tide. On a full moon perhaps that shone like day over Asheville? What brings this breath to you?
Materia is made of many substances. Their relationship to each other is at the heart of the matter. Natural pigments, Japanese watercolors, inks, sand, mica, lapis lazuli, paper, cotton, wood, as well as industrial paints like acrylic. Mixed with water and with the very places and moments they were inspired within, something called Art emerges. My hands, this body and all its systems of life, my mind and my care is all wrapped up in it. A rekindled love of the magic of photographs capturing light in form; video capturing shimmer and shadow in shape, movement, color, and sound have reentered. And if there is an original source to it all, it is my relational conversation with Earth. Thank you for coming to share in this now and bringing your presence into the mix. You are a part of it.
Materia, was mostly created or conceived in the west of Ireland in a place called the Burren national park. This is a protected, limestone karst landscape that was once under the ocean, and was once forested. It is a UNESCO world heritage site. An expanse full of biodiversity, it holds remarkable beauty. I immerse myself there to feel the full presence of nature in an ecosystem that has had less interruption of modernity and evidence of the anthropocene, though has up to 14,000 years of a human earth relationship that has made its marks. The layers and systems of nature thriving are clearly seen. This area is close to where I was born. Materia is also inspired by the presence of life in this very valley in Asheville on Cherokee land nestled in Appalachia in its wilderness and urbaness intermarried for better or worse. I deeply love both these places and the life in them. I find myself going back and forth once a year.
As an artist it has been my calling to feel the life blood of the world and yearn to express it. Watching our wild world has given me much to wonder with. The depth of my seeing was inspired by profound grief at different points in my life that eventually led me after a particularly traumatic event to take refuge in a primeval woodland in Ireland in 2008. Wild places have felt like home to me all my life. I think I’m lucky to feel that, not everyone does. To end up in the woods was not surprising to me, but the empathy understanding and company I found there was. Over time, through routinely laying in the forest mostly out of a desperate attempt to find peace I found a full visual kinesthetic telling of what I needed to know about circles, the cycles of birth and destruction, death and the powerful beauty in the beginnings and in the endings.
A community of life, rounded and thriving as an eco system showed me the way to walk with grief and to love. It became familial and familiar as I would sit by a loved one, ailing or dying or preparing for a birth or growing along. How clarified by the experience I felt, of time warping in circles and layers and the deep value of a life. I found myself calming in the emergency I was living through and consistently inspired to paint the systems of life around me and this unveiling relationship. There was an uncanny sense that Earth wanted to be seen, was waiting for me and offered gifts when I stayed long enough to see. This often felt remarkably as if I was not the maker of the art but I was part of Earth making the art.
I have worked along this way in whatever capacity I have been able to. In the rapid destruction of lives and species we are witness to, I feel an even greater sense of reciprocal loving with Earth. Making meaningful gestures towards her and tending to my relationship is it feels, tending to everything in an active ecology of care. Materia is a show of this connectivity and the layers of beingness that I have been witness to, as well as been a part of and will continue to try to relate. Come in!
In the shelter of each other we thrive/ Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine
Thank you ARTPLAY for offering this supportive space to show and grow my work, for me and our community.
Thank you PJ Roth my husband for all your love and support in this project,
Thank you to my daughter Madeleine Carrington for championing her mama and offering such insightful ideas and thoughts about this work from your digs in Dublin.