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· The Art of Solace ·

It's good, I tell my students, to have varied interests. Their advantage is clear: if you're ever fooled or frustrated by one, you can perhaps pursue another for support. Take, for instance, my own Seattle Mariners. They blew their annual opener yesterday by losing 10-5 against the Angels, so what I needed today was solace. And who should offer it but my stylish, poetry-writing daughter-in-law, whom you first read in Flight Song for Wren Marie. She also happens to be a very talented artist.

Last Friday night at her latest opening she drew many who declared, over wine and hors d'oeuvres, how she'd hit the artistic equivalent of a grand slam. She sold all but one of her new art works. But as the title of her show makes clear, "Solace" is in fact her larger interest, and I thought to say so here by sharing her "Artist's Statement":

My works [she writes] derive from the physical beauty of natural landscapes and/or the emotional landscapes of literature. They are intended to evoke a sense of those physical and emotional spaces — "windows" into transformative views.

 · Broken and Mended, 13 x 14, 2004 · The process of creating them is, in part, a meditation. Elements of watercolor, colored pencil, and fine papers are juxtaposed, cut or torn, layered and reworked. Seemingly disparate "bits" are assembled into a unified whole, much as glass tesseræ combine to form a mosaic, much as the snippets of one's existence are woven together and transformed to shape a life.

Perhaps somewhere between the luminous washes of color and the obsessive rigidity of the rectangular bits, one finds a balanced hush, a safe and quiet space of solace.

"Broken and Mended" is but a sample of her art, yet more to the point is the quiet substance of her style. Note how in three short paragraphs she moves deftly from a personal to impersonal vision, from "My works" to "one finds." Then focusing on elemental things inbetween, she gives precise meaning to the subtle use of the passive voice: "are intended," "are juxtaposed, cut or torn, layered and reworked," are assembled," "are woven." We feel wrapped in the warm embrace of truth and beauty, goodness, solace, and (perhaps) soul.

As I was saying, if baseball just doesn't work for you today, maybe give art a chance tomorrow.

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What a wonderful tribute to a talented artist who just happens to be a family member! You (and she) got style!

Posted by Luther on April 15, 2004 08:03 PM


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