Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cords - A Recurring Motif in my Work

I was reading someone's art blog the other day about themes in her work, which prompted me to reflect upon the motifs which recur in my own work. I will likely write more about this in the future. This is what comes up for me at present.

The most obvious motif is my use of cords, ropes, ribbons, winding hair, etc. In so many of my drawings for the past decade or so there are undulating or tangled elements winding around each other or connecting seemingly disparate elements to the whole. This is true not only in my black and whites where tangles are easily apparent. This motif also occurs in my illustration, my logos, and even in the wearable art pieces I sew.

What does it all mean? Only my subconscious knows. I have a few ideas, though.
  • Connectivity: I am forever searching for wholeness and meaning in life. When things fall apart or stand apart or threaten to fall into chaos (my nemesis) perhaps I desire to bring these elements together again into some kind of reconciliation.
  • Complexity: I see the world as incredibly complex, a factor which is both exciting and debilitating. On one hand, I am awed at the magnificence of the detail in nature. (The closer one looks at something, the more complex it becomes.) On the other hand, such an abundance of everything can quickly become overwhelming. Sensory overload. When there is too much of something, one loses the ability to hold it all. Perhaps my ribbons are an attempt to gather together that which has become too complex to comprehend as a whole.
  • Pathways: I love reading patterns and finding hidden pathways to meaning. (My coaching work allows me to do this. My clients and I uncover their patterns of behavior and thinking and then create strategies to change direction. We are often untangling the complicated web of their lives in order to create straighter, simpler pathways.)
  • Prolifera: That is the name I give to my chief Gremlin, the demon-goddess who haunts my thinking and tempts me to juggle more and more and more until I can't manage it all and my world comes crashing down. My tendency to become scattered by too many interests is a profound element of my life. Perhaps the cords are an attempt to keep it all together - to control Prolifera. Yet, after so many years of inner work, I know that She cannot be managed. She must instead be pre-empted by another part of my psyche which invites me to a higher, more expansive, more focussed self. Ah, but my art tells a different story. The cords are still there.

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