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For the past three months I have been working on Wild Daze, a large-scale painting inspired by my regular visits to the Chicago lakefront just a few blocks away from my home and studio. Having such easy access to the shores of Lake Michigan and the natural habitat there has provided endless opportunities to observe and reflect upon the notion of the wild and what it means in our environmentally challenged times.
The word wild itself brings to mind so many things for me -- from the most exciting sense of jubilant, flourishing, wonder-filled wildness to the less than favorable type that often gets associated with children and teens that do not behave and adults that won't and don't follow the rules -- that un-tameable nature that burns brightly for more novel and authentic experiences.
A few years back, while working on a series of Big Wild drawings about the animated forces seen and experienced in the natural environment, I looked up the word wilderness to get a better understanding of what that concept actually meant. I was delighted to find the word defined as an achievement of nature, a battle won for authentic expression, a determination to hold ground against invasive interference.
It is these very qualities that guide my creative studies. I regularly seek out sites where re-wilding is taking place, observing the slow and steady return of ecosystems as they reestablish their rightful place on the globe. I pay close attention to my own natural systems and work hard to hang on to my own core being and find balance and acceptance within the curious complexities of the human experience. And I look to the studio experience to allow the manifestation of the wildness that exists both within us and outside of us--combining the willful energies of physical materials with the steady heartbeat of life.
Wild Daze is an amalgamation of assembled multi-color papers, ink and color pencil drawing, watercolor and gouache painting, and objects found at the lakefront. These include rusty metal objects, plastic parts, and weathered paper scraps. It is 56"h x 126"w and will be on display in my upcoming one-person exhibition at the Dahl Art Museum in 2024.
During the month of September, artists focused on the concept of Extraction by selecting a specific area of an image made in the previous few months and developing a series from it. New works were constructed through multiple prompts that included working in a circular format, exploring new materials, methods, and surfaces, and infusing images with the spirit of contemporary artists of interest. The images below showcase these ongoing serial explorations.