If there were an archaeological dig on the surface of these seven pieces that make up this body of work the conclusion would be that a decade ago each began peacefully but were progressively ravaged by stress, war, uncertainty, famine, despair, and surely migraine headaches, each year worse than the one before. That would be a fairly accurate description of the ten years I worked on these pieces, even “war”, although I was my own enemy.
Making art helps me to sort out the thoughts running through my head. Six times I went at these with a new sense of determination to push through, finish, conquer my uncertainty, and find catharsis for some terrible personal event or circumstance (a couple unspeakable) that my family and I have had to weather. After every bout I would decide to trash them all and then, months later, I’d discover them stowed away. Six former devastations in my life produced the six underlayers in their many manifestations. The pieces are now finished in peace with the final, seventh, layer. This body of work is about healing, rebuilding and learning joy. I’ve entitled each piece with a quote or paraphrase from Isaiah 61. Isaiah 61 is about a new era ushered in by the coming Messiah, who I believe is Jesus, sent to heal, redeem, and rebuild. His building plan looks wrong side up because it’s not about building up self-esteem or confidence or being strong and carrying on. The new building plan is to learn how to be like him, lowly in heart in the face of scorn, real or imagined. I’m learning to let go of who I thought I was, to view success or failure as words. Remember: diamonds come from ashes.