Have any of us ever known a time as chaotic as these past few months? We struggle to put our feelings into words, and the words are not pleasant: fear; outrage; heartbreak; the list goes on--and even so seems inadequate. But in the midst…
In the midst, as we grieve and wrestle and adjust to new rhythms, new normals, beauty remains.
Does beauty really matter, though, when it seems the world as we know it is crashing down? If we go back to the very beginning, and we see what God gave to humankind in creation, His creation was both “pleasing to the eye and good for food” (Genesis 2:9). In other words, from the very beginning, God knew that our souls need to be fed with beauty as much as our bodies need to be fed with food. Beauty springs up from our creativity, countering destruction. So yes: In spite of disorder and disarray, even surrounded by confusion and upheaval, the human need for beauty remains.
These paintings attempt to meet this basic human necessity. Some are purely abstract, with a sense of chaos. Other paintings begin to show evidence of an abstracted reality, and others advance into pure representation. As you view the evolution from abstraction to representation, find the beauty in each aspect.
The paintings began with purely expressive joy-filled mark-making, whether with a forceful graphite sketch or splashes of brilliant color. And while I always worked from a still life set-up, I never was quite sure of the outcome at the start. Would the painting be completely abstract? Would I be able to bring cohesion and completion without an explicit narrative? Would any elements of the still life remain? The painting process, for me, begins in a sort of headlong abandon in color and gesture, before settling down into a more formal exploration of the structure that begins to emerge. My painting is an emotional response to the world around me, not just to the still life in front of me. When I find myself astonished by beauty, I want to respond -- not by copying it precisely, but by creating work that will in turn open the opportunity for an emotional encounter with the viewer.
We are all in this year, this “unprecedented” time, together. Look for beauty. Steadfast, interwoven with sorrow and hurt, beauty is discoverable. It can surprise us in unexpected places and time;, bring release; nourish our souls; and, in the end, even in times like these, give us hope.
-Carolyn Marshall Wright