Here we are closing in on the end of 2021 and once again waiting to see what the new year holds in store for each and all of us. After another year marked by the pandemic, political strife, social upheaval, and environmental disasters, it is sometimes difficult to find positive guideposts to cling on to. We search with guarded optimism, knowing instinctively that they are out there, but somehow they just keep getting harder and harder to see.
Art has always been a sign of light and life for me and, I think it's safe to say, for all who take part in the making or viewing of this vast treasure trove of creative human energy. It comes to us in all shapes and sizes and from all areas of the world, standing ready to educate us, buoy our spirits, and connect us emotionally to the world around us. Art matters much more than many realize.
This past year has traveled by so quickly and, looking back, I feel so incredibly fortunate to have worked with so many wonderful artists. Watching their progress, I am allowed a special entry into each of their creative lives and have the opportunity to see how their unique experiences are embodied in materials of the world. Whether from the art supply store, backyard garden, hardware store, or recycling bin, artful transformation of materials breathes new life into our weary souls.
My own art practice took a few odd twists and turns this year with the making of a few new artist books and a series of large-scale drawings related to the sacred mounds/grounds at Cahokia Mounds in Southern Illinois. I also completed a series of asemic drawings that taught me a lot about color relationships and finished two series of collagraph prints while staying at a local hotel while my floors were repaired after a summer flood.
I recently started working on a group of elephants drawings, tentatively called "Hide," using hand-made walnut ink on elephant dung paper. These magnificent creatures are so fascinating and complex with their massive bodies, extensive long-term memory, and rich emotional lives. It has been a longstanding goal of mine to study their richly textured hides and emotive facial expressions. For me, they are a poignant symbol of hope as they fight for their rightful place on the planet.
So with 2022 just around the corner, it is comforting to know that art will continue to play an important role in making meaning of time and help make sense of the fractured times we are living in. Whether by design or by accident, art will always be a symbol of light and life. Made in response to one's lived experience, it offers visions of hope for the future. May this next year be filled with the promise of art-filled days, deep connections, meaningful memories, and peaceful nights.