SOLO: Parallels at Touchstone Gallery, Washington DC
In the Fall of 2019, I was stopped in my tracks at the sound of the wind. With a million things to do, I stood still and watched and listened as the trees moved in unison under the force of the wind. I remember thinking it looked like one big organism breathing. By the middle of the next season, we would be in a global pandemic effecting our connections with each other and our collective ability to breathe.
In a forest, there is not one isolated tree, but a network of trees, often of many different species. When one tree is weak, the neighboring trees support it through the connection of its root system and protect it from the elements through their proximity. I was amazed at the parallels between the life of a tree and its dependency on the forest and the issues of connection and isolation that I have witnessed in our society in the past few years. The pandemic created an incredible sense of global community at the same time it divided us into our own isolated spaces.
I paint intuitively. I make a mark and respond to that mark or color with another and another. Some of those initial marks get lost in the layering of paint and collage. Space shifts back and forth and the light changes and changes again. Recently in my studio, trees kept showing up in my compositions. I started to fall in love with the repetition of verticals along the constant of the horizon and the light that I imagined pouring through the negative space gave me hope. Light has always played a role in my painting and as I painted that light, I couldn’t help noticing the light in my home where I spent much of the pandemic. When I combined the interior light with my landscapes, I felt like I could put a name to what I felt over the past several months.
Just like standing still observing the trees swaying in the wind on that busy day two years ago, I have felt like I was on a parallel plane during the pandemic. At the same time inside-out, isolated and connected.