Follow by Email

Saturday, January 24, 2009

January

I haven't updated here for some time.. my Mom passed away on December 24th and I have just been spinning from that so I have not gotten anything done. I did start cleaning and organizing my studio so I can get back to work... with everything going on - things got out of control in there and I haven't been able to focus with the mess!

I have been thinking about this project a lot and about this blog. When I began the blog as a part of the work, I thought it would be interesting to document the process and the hurdles I would come across during it. I have always been interested in how an artist got to the point when they painted their works . It has always interested me in how the time a person lives in affects their work as well as their relationships, their living conditions, economic status, etc. When I began this blog, I wasn't thinking about all of those things - I was thinking about solely how the project would go - but I am realizing that so many of those things have really affected the project. It's as if each drawing and painting I do has a million little invisible strings attached to it.. strings that carry the issues in my life that affect that work of art even though I would not have ever thought they had an influence. So, this blog is making me take all of this in and understand more in depth for myself those seemingly invisible influences that, in fact, have as much influence in this work as the actual animals at the shelter have.

One thing I also wanted to document, was how things change.. how art to me is a very organic process and with shifts in the environment the work adapts and changes. One major change recently is an opportunity and a loss I have come across.

First the opportunity - next September, I have my first and so far only, show with this work. It will be at a college gallery and the gallery actually is two rooms.. two rooms separated by a hallway. So, I had some thinking to do about how the work will appear placed in two rooms - this provides me with an opportunity - what if within the work - there were too different directions?

And now the loss - as I sat at the bedside of my dying Mom for over two months, I became a spectator to the dying process. Now, this process was new to me in that I have seen death before. Only when this project began had I encountered it. Prior to coming to the shelter, I came across a dog who had been hit on the road- that dog looked at me with glassy eyes wagged its tail and died. A short time later, I had the unfortunate experience of seeing a terrible car accident and saw a man dying as he was pinned against a tree.. it was a violent and terrible thing. And then, of course, I have seen the euthanasia. The euthanized animals had fear in their eyes and I could have sworn they "knew" - they knew. But, their deaths were quick and peaceful.

My Mom's death was different - it took time. I witnessed her for so many weeks talking to others in the room that I could not see. Some people might say there were ghosts or angels.. I don't know,, but many things led me to believe they were real. She talked about things before they happened - one day she excitedly told "them" I had just sold a piece of art - I had not for some time - yet two days later I did. There were other things. She also talked about seeing the pets of the past.. Toby my childhood dog was one she "saw"one day and was very excited. She talked about a beautiful place and said it was warm all the time there - she even asked "them" one day if I could come along. And then one day she turned to me out of the blue and said "Tinkerbell died of old age". Tinkerbell was a cat I loved as a child who was taken from me and taken to the pound by my parents... I had always wondered about her... it was upsetting to me.. but I never really talked to my Mom about it - so it was astonishing that on her deathbed my Mom told me that. She told me she lived with her new family until she died of old age. So, it got me thinking.. according to my Mom - the animals could be seen after death- where did they go?

So I have decided that in one gallery I will have the "real" the images - drawings, paintings, photos of the animals I have met and who have gone. In the second gallery will be the "imagined" - the images of them in what might be their next stop. According to my Mom the next stop is a beautiful place - it is warm - there is swimming :) - and no one seems to be alone.. so I would like to include this as part of the project. I have a lot of work to do.

2 comments:

Carol said...

Mary,
Our thoughts and hearts were with you when we heard about the passing of your Mom. Cynthia had told us about it. Let us know when and where the art show is in September - I would like to come. We are still very interested in the project. In 2008 we had a save rate of 45% (it was 34% in 2007). This is largely due to the Rolling Rescue. This month, Jan. 2009, we sent 170 on rescue. Our goal is 60% save rate for 2009.Keep the wee ones in your heart and hope we can soon reach the goal of No-Kill. Have you thought of attending the No Kill Conference in DC in May? Maybe a chance to sell some art? Gotta go, the Mobile Spay/neuter unit is here at the shelter today. I love the pictures-Carol

Chandler Pritchett said...

wow.