(details) Perfect in Weakness, diptych, 36×24″, ink on paper/acrylic on paper, 2019
While working on the painting portion of this piece, I considered the way that small pieces (of the composition, of life) can feel out of place or broken, especially when observed from a place that is close-up and contained. With a more spacious point of view, there can be a perfection in observing the way things fit together that wasn’t previously apparent.
This drawing is 19th in a series of textual meditations I’ve been making since 2014, and was selected to be part of the exhibition Visual Thinking at the Ronald L. Barr Gallery at Indiana University Southeast. Methodical and meditative, these drawings have proven a constant over the past five years, and I imagine will continue to be so in the years to come.
I first saw this phrase of Louise Bourgeois’ in an exhibition at MoMA which include, among many books, paintings, and sculptures spanning her career, the fabric book Ode à l’oubli. (Here‘s a photo of her piece in the exhibition Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait.) Her prolific body of work fascinated me, and her mantra offers hope that I too might return to openness from areas of repression.
My friend commissioned these pieces as a gift for her husband; the text was excerpted from Wendell Berry’s poem, “The Country of Marriage“. Though I’ve been putting meditative text drawings and abstract/non-representational pieces next to each other for a couple of years now, this is the first time I’ve created a pair specifically to fit together rather than combining them after the fact. A small opportunity to practice conversation between these two ways of working.
Sometimes our life reminds me
of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
and in that opening a house,
an orchard and garden,
comfortable shades, and flowers
red and yellow in the sun, a pattern
made in the light for the light to return to.
The forest is mostly dark, its ways
to be made anew day after day, the dark
richer than the light and more blessed,
provided we stay brave
enough to keep on going in.