Friday, July 18, 2014

Narratives of Place

Pieces of Memory, cold wax, oil paints, collage, by Donna Watson

Words begin as description.  They are prismatic, vehicles of hidden, deeper shades of thought.  You can hold them up at different angles until the light bursts through in an unexpected color.
Susan Brind Morrow, THE NAME OF THINGS

Life Energy, cold wax, oil paints, collage by Donna Watson

We establish a sense of place from its vivid sensory impressions or influence.  Places have mood and magic, an atmosphere of their own.  There are different ways of conceptualizing and speaking about the way we connect to the spirit and texture of a place.  We find expression and authenticity of place through sensory cues, crystallized images, and from reasons steeped in memory and meaning.


In 1973, Peter Matthiessen traveled high into the remote mountains of Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard.  Matthiessen was a student of Zen Buddhism and was also on a spiritual quest.  His beautiful writing describes the "moments' along his journey... the sky, the snow, the birds, the butterflies, the animals, the people.  I have never read such beautiful descriptive words, with such a deepening Buddhist understanding of reality, suffering, impermanence and beauty.  
"The fire-colored dragonflies in the early autumn air, the bent backs in bright reds and yellows, the gleam on the black cattle and grain stubble, the fresh green of the paddies and the sparkling river---over everything lies an immortal light, like transparent silver."  PM

Woodcut print by Gary Groves

Gary Groves is a woodcut artist.  He grew up in the Northwest and his work is inspired by the stark landscapes of rock, light and shadow.   He has a BFA in sculpture, apprenticed as a potter and lived in Japan.  It is obvious Zen tenets have influenced his work, and he has captured the rhythms and textures of the places he has experienced.  "I want my work to talk about this connection I have established  to try and draw attention to the significance and history of the objects I choose to include in my images."  Gary Groves

Woodcut print by Gary Groves

"I look for some aspect of my subjects, some special quality that arouses me, that I can point out and that may not be readably recognizable... that can make an ordinary object significant for myself and hopefully for the viewers."  Gary Groves

Palouse Falls, woodcut print by Gary Groves

"My medium of woodcut prints is idea for rendering the textures that help to convey my intentions.
The direct and straightforward technique of carving the blocks is something I respond to personally."
You can find out more about Gary Groves and his works at Augen Gallery here.  

Woodcut print by Gary Groves

Here the immensity, the emptiness, feeds the spirit, and leaves it with no hunger for anything but more space, more light---as if one had suddenly glimpsed the largeness, the emptiness of one's own soul, and come to terms with it, glorying at last in its open freedom.
David Malouf, An Imaginary Life

Wood cut print by Gary Groves




19 comments:

Seth said...

I am so drawn to your pieces in the first two images Donna that I will have to come back to read through the rest of the post. They stand on their own!

Sue Marrazzo said...

What a NICE post!

ELFI said...

les images correspondent avec ta peinture..sobre et beau!

Gaby Bee said...

Beautiful new works and thought provoking inspiring words.
A great post, Donna!

Peggy said...

Love the Gary Groves quote. In my own work I look for leaves that speak to my soul.When you think of a specific species of leaves we tend to think they all look alike. But when one looks deeply you begin to notice the subtle lines, curves and colors that makes each leaf highly individual and spectacular. I also hope to capture that beauty in the printing of it. But sometimes the leaf that doesn't appear to have anything special about it prints the most spectacularly and makes ones heart skip a beat.

Jo Murray said...

Your images engage me immediately! Mind you, those woodcuts are incredible...such detail.

Judy Shreve said...

This post really speaks to me - I moved about every 18 months growing up and I've continued moving quite a bit as an adult - place is so important! The rhythm of each place can literally change who you are!
Your pieces capture that so well Pieces of Memory is so strong - a doorway? a switch? a treasured relic? an opening? -- and the line-work. Fabulous!

Barry said...

Hi D - the sense of place manifests itself so individually - so many small snippets of memory. I loved reading the Snow Leopard - it came into my life at just the right time many years ago. Love the works. Go well. B

lyle baxter said...

wonderful pictures and interesting people. thank you!

Laura said...

With peace, joy and insight, the gift you bring to your art has gifted us all with an adjustment of perspective and gratitude.

india flint said...

beautiful as ever

Caterina Giglio said...

So much to chew on here, but your work stands out singularly and spectacularly...

Fiona Dempster said...

I love where your work is Donna, and the woodcuts are amazing. I love too that you found David Malouf - one of my favourites and a local so to speak. Go well.

mansuetude said...

Everything here! Beautiful

Martha Slavin said...

Donna,
I am so glad to be able to read 'layers' Your thoughts are so deep and make me stop in a busy world to contemplate the images you have provided. Thank you!

ZenDotStudio said...

Nice! Place is so important to us whether we recognize it or not, the landscape, the weather, the terrain, the sky influence our moods. If we drink deeply of our "place" it can feed our souls.

Carole Reid said...

Ahhhhh..... a peaceful place to visit here as always, Donna.

ArtPropelled said...

Words "..vehicles of hidden, deeper shades of thought" .... oh I love the description of words being prismatic.... like your posts. I find new treasures every time I read them. Your paintings and their titles open doors in my imagination too..... prisms of thought. I enjoyed David Malouf's quote and the beautiful woodprint just above it. Looking forward to receiving my copy of The Snow Leopard next month.... a birthday gift for my husband!

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Your work and the wood prints both imbue a zen like serenity. You have created a place as real as geographic places here at your blog.