Solace in mountain solitude
November 5, 2015
This project started as a cathartic process, and like all good projects, evolved and took on new layers of meaning that continue to deepen. It is not an entirely rational project, but it has given me a profound outlet to work through the most difficult challenge of my life. I’m sharing it with the world because I believe in healing, and the mountains are where I found home again.
In the wake of my divorce followed by my young son moving four hours away, I sought solace from the ensuing emotional crisis in the North Cascade mountains. The vast silence of raw wilderness gave me a place to bring calm to a troubled mind. Empowering solitude led me to the stories of three poets; Gary Snyder, Phillip Whalen, and Jack Kerouac, who spent summers in the 1950’s as fire lookouts experiencing their own profound personal transformations. The simple Lookout cabin, one of the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic hermitages, became a crystalized form that could encapsulate the sanctuary that I too found in the high peaks.
And then I decided to build one.
Among the many metaphors that can be inferred from this symbolic structure, I resonate most with the quiet shelter it provides me to look deeper within while being surrounded by untarnished wilderness. In the parallel solitude of the studio, I have been layering abstract drawings that are an intuitive and subconscious emotional release with paintings that are an interpretation of places where I have found solace. The paintings that compliment the Lookout are in effect windows into my healing, and offer the viewer an opportunity to contemplate their own place-based stories of recovery, inspiration, and empowerment.
To see this project in its entirety, please join me at the Traver Gallery in downtown Seattle on opening night, November 5th 2015. The show runs through December 23rd. This Lookout will reappear in the gallery along with 12 paintings that explore the transformative power of mountain solitude.
I would like to thank TwispWorks for providing a place for this project to manifest. The windows in this Lookout and some of the reclaimed wood are original items from the neighboring Fire Warehouse, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s.
HEAVEN AND EARTH VII
July 11th to October 18th, 2015
All of us are aware, on some level, of our own balancing act with Nature. As I contemplate the degree to which humans are a part of nature vs. uniquely outside of nature, all of the man made inventions that surround me either increase my connection with nature or create greater separation. Civilization itself could be the greatest thing ever invented or, paradoxically, the very thing that bring us to destroy our own habitat. This installation hangs in the tension of that dynamic by juxtaposing the advance of technological invention against nature’s inherent tendency to reclaim any space not overly controlled by man. Left to it’s own devices, Nature Always Wins.