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The artworks included in this drawing exhibition fall into four separate but integrally related series that have developed over the past 7 years. The drawings are intimate, representational pieces drawn in gouache and graphite with an eye for detail and application of visual metaphor. I have been working on them slowly, at a mother’s pace, for the past 6 years as I balance a life of family, teaching and artmaking.

The first series I refer to as Mother’s Work or The Y-stick Series. As I re-entered the world of drawing in the late 1990’s after the birth of my three children, I found myself drawing from treasured objects and twigs found and handed to me for safe keeping by my young children. The rare beauty yet mundane nature of these objects obsessed me. In this series the twig is symbolic of the letter form ‘Y’ embedded in my first name, the proverbial ‘Y in the fork in the road’, the question ‘why’ asked so often by children as well as the visual suggestion of a figure intrinsic to the ‘Y’ form itself. Often the ‘Y’ stick is representative of a particular person or is used to create a combination of images carefully placed to suggest specific relationships and life stresses. The sticks, stones, seeds and bones lovingly rendered in the drawings have all been found and handed to me for safe keeping by my children as our family has walked the landscape of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, South and North Dakota. They not only record the personal landscape of our lives but the natural landscape we have moved through.

The second series I refer to as 100 Daily Blessings. These drawings also use the simple treasures found by my children as subject matter. The exquisite yet commonplace forms of stones, seeds, sticks, found bones, and rusted fragments are composedonto twelve narrow drawings that allow the artist and viewer to reflect and meditate on the blessings and beauty available in the simplest of natural and man-made forms. The gouache and graphite drawings use psychological space and careful placement to address issues of parenting, love, respect, and fear as well as using simple and honest observation to replicate the elegance of the objects. The drawings touch on the spiritual and religious as they echo the call for ‘100 Daily Blessings’, that honors and recognizes the Orthodox requirement for daily blessings of the most mundane details of living.

The Lamentations series that followed uses a similar format and inspiration to the earlier work but physically enlarges and psychologically deepens. Composed of eight gouache and graphite drawings, the Lamentations series uses visual metaphor in a tightly controlled psychological space to address issues of loss, fear, displacement, pain, and death and the human hunger for recovery and renewal. Careful observation is used to discover and replicate the aura of the specifically selected metaphorical objects and to create an overall sense of menacing and tenuous peace, meaning, and order. As the drawings touch on human emotion and conflict they recall spiritual and religious history as they echo the poetic and desperate Lamentations of Jeremiah.

“As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain help: in our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save us.” Lamentations of Jeremiah, Chapter 5

“The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning.” Lamentations of Jeremiah, Chapter 6

My current and ongoing work is evidenced in an as yet un-named drawing series of minute and easily neglected items. These pieces of naturally cast off debris come together as a patchwork of animated and lively object drawings in graphite and gouache on tinted papers. The meaning is not clear to me as yet. The patchwork like other mother’s work is ongoing.

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