Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dec 19 - Jan 6: Betty Spackman, Fort Gallery

Notes from the artist

“...The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
Robert Frost

I have decided not to title this exhibition, although if I did it would be called something like, “’Oh Christmas Tree’: A Seasonal Lament”, or “Whose woods these are”, after Robert Frost’s well know poem, Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening….as the work is somehow about trees. But it is really more about stopping long enough to see and to ‘hear’ - the trees and everything else around me.

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

I think that popular philosophical question should perhaps be, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, where is everyone !?” I don’t want to ignore ‘the fallen’ anymore. I want to be present and listening and I want to understand how I am implicated in the fall. I want to have ears to hear and allow myself to be wounded with the wounds of the world around me.

At many levels I am greedy, careless and apathetic. It comes with being human, a self-centered North American human, preoccupied with survival and gratification. But in determining to stop, look and listen a little more closely to the world on the other side of my skin, I have learned my skin does not separate me from anything. Instead, I am implicated, ‘folded in’, ‘entangled’ as the Latin root of implicated suggests. Nature is not outside me; I am inside it. When I move I can push the air enough to jostle a leaf on the tree I pass by. When the leaf falls, when the tree falls I should also be jostled, I should feel the earth shake, feel my body shake…but I seldom do. I am fat and dull of hearing. I have too many “promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

In this show and a new installation work I am producing simultaneously, I attempt to understand my relationship and responsibility for the broken, fragile planet. I do this in the only way I am currently able to do. I celebrate life and lament its loss - through images and objects. If I could sing this would be a Christmas carol sung by a donkey. It would be a sad song about too many pine beetles and too few bees in the forest. It would be about human babies born without shelter and animals without their natural habitat. It would be about open wounds and about the promise of restoration. And it would be about trees.

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