After decades of art-making, I am still delighted when I am led into an unanticipated direction. I’ve always liked wood. (Who doesn’t?!) But my past experience has been limited to woodblock carving for prints. In the commission I finished last year for ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Help’ Church, I incorporated relief woodcarving into the frames. The placement of the commissions in the niches of the church and their content of the presence and workings of the Holy Spirit all sent me back to a way of art-making from years ago before the tornados hit that was characterized by hope and the munificence of God. This is timely I think because surely we are living in an appalling and absurd time in need of hope.
I’ve always loved symmetry, especially imperfect symmetry where carved pattern is revealed and then lost but still the intention of the pattern remains. I also love the shape of the equilateral cross with its reference to life and death; arm-stretching cosmic hugs; whirligigs and flowers with stillness at their centers; the crucifixion and the flowering resurrection. My friend and I were talking about the small epiphanies of childhood–instances when we sensed an invitation from God: the comfort and mystery of a statue of Virgin and Child on a well-frequented path; wind animating the tops of trees; a song about the magi breaking into a child’s sad night. As I do these small dense painted carvings, I realize they represent hints of hope; modest epiphanies. They allude to those moments that happen in the blink of an eye, brief and easily missed but if you manage to pay attention, life-changing.
The Epiphany series will be shown at the Artist Project Toronto February 21-24, 2019
For more images from the series click here.