Gentle Home, At Last.
Gentle Home, At Last, is a mixed media triptych created as my capstone work as I exited from the Lamar Dodd School of Art. The pieces are titled (from left to right) memorized footsteps no longer, treasured blisters, and yours, too. The work takes on the themes of home, rest, companionship, and ephemerality. For me, the work served as a reservoir of growth and peace as I concluded my studies at the University of Georgia. The triptych, which is presented upon canvas and mesh stitched together, portrays abstracted scenes of a complex notion of the home, both internal and external..
memorized footsteps no longer
Reflection upon my gentle home.
As I entered the canvas in the prologue stages of Gentle Home, at Last (which at the time was so vaguely realized that its title could not yet be grasped beyond ‘that thing I’m working on’), I stumbled upon the most profound realization of my artistic career to date. I once assumed my paintings in their final form to be the fruits of my labor, but I no longer believe this to be true. The paintings were never the product of my work; they were the prescription. Through the prescription of my practice, I found that the commitment, discipline, and labor of painting can exist alongside the relief, forgiveness, and joy of painting in synchronicity, altogether facilitating a space of healing and self-expansion. This was the product of my work: everything that stands between me and the last charcoal mark. My consideration of that indistinct ‘everything’ is as follows.
I came to this piece of work in order to explore the creation of ‘place’ within painting and to investigate the exchange between artist and art. This desire to derive a sense of home from gestural markings and abstraction became, in and of itself, a homage. While creating this place, I gave myself somewhere to return, to nest, to find reprieve. As I remedied the canvas, I found a sense of understanding within myself, thus the reciprocal nature of healing born. Until, walking home from the studio after speaking with a trusted professor, I was struck with the ‘why’ behind the work, the spine of the piece. I was building the home I never had, my Gentle Home, at Last.
I wanted this home to be comfortable and kind. I set budding flowers, fresh fruits, pulled-out chairs, and steaming teacups with a kind of casualness of a temporary moment; none of these objects however abstracted or rendered are stagnant, confined to permanency, because the home is always breathing, never the same. My home within a four-walled canvas stretcher is lived-in, forgiving, playful, and messy (though in truth, I do make my bed each morning.)
Ignited with an actualized motivation, the work took form. I utilized transparency to depict the ephemerality and movement within the home. I allowed gestural marks to sweep the canvas as I imagined friends dancing in kitchens. I abstracted belongings to echo the memory of the pile of books you misplaced in college, the mug your roommate may or may not have broken, the pitcher you have yet to own, but a dear family member will one day gift you. Most of all, I left space. I intentionally rendered no bodies within the work. Instead, I left space for one, because that space belongs to you.
Gentle Home, at Last became exactly that for me, a place to retire to. As I continue to source this place through my artistic career and being, I hope that others find it just as sweet and precious, a door with open admittance.