Compose Not Decay: Articulating Articulations

Sometimes one can find particular compound subjects which inter-relate not only intimately, but also freely and purposefully. One of these cases appears to be the dynamic and interlocking skeletal joints that we find at the core of our physical bodies. This example can perhaps be expanded through reference, in the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel, to the story of ‘dry bones’ coming to life. Furthermore, one can exceed to the resurrection life that comes from death. Care to visual representation, along with ideas that connect to the work, may awaken this poetry while encouraging an active continuing referral to beyond what is explicit.

The word “articulation” denotes a joint of bones, a correlation or interconnection of ideas, or an act of utterance. This body of work “articulates articulations.” Using joint-like articulations to create titles, the names of the works are meant to prompt a contemplative connecting that starts between the verbal and the visual. These works were created, on both material and contemplative levels, in order to suggest particularity of relationships, life, and quintessential hope.

Here, drawings and paintings present moveable joints of human, skeletal, dry bones. Dramatically lit artificial skeletons are placed in settings that include drapery, glass, panel, and/or negative spaces of marks that react to the joint. The orientation of the paper for the drawings, which suggests portrait space, complements the orientation of the paintings, which prompts a more environmental, horizontal setting. Sometimes there is a piece of glass in the background that reflects the bone in a way that may parallel the ‘reflection’ of the bone in the viewer. When this happens, a type of trinity emerges as an intersection of the following ideas: general lifelessness (mere reflection on glass), possibility for actualization (given joint), and the realized life of the viewer. Sometimes the negative spaces seem interwoven into a reaction of the positive joint. Perhaps there is a struggle or energy reflecting life. Purposefully, in order to join the negative and positive space, the joints are often placed in non-central locations in the works. Then again, the background might be a tangible thing such as a panel or drapery that allows a shadow to fall against it. Consequently, a second trio of shadow, object, and reflection might appear.

Perhaps one can consider the implications of a treatment of craft that reflects the tenuous, life, texture, and color of a bone. The support is primed in order to be reminiscent of the texture and color of bone. Bone illusions are formed using additive (graphite/turpentine, or paint) and subtractive (eraser, or rag) work that is layered complexly, and created in a manner that flows from larger general forms toward more particular detail. The pace of gesture and calligraphic marks, that acquires strength as the joint forms illusionally, begins with a “gestural core.” This is commonly associated with responsive “life” drawing. A somewhat theatric setting, described through intentional lighting and diagonal directions of the cropped, enlarged joints of bones, is the stage in which fairly aggressive marks create an ironic sense of detail. A whole person approach to drawing, including an athletic response of the body and mark maker to the referent, results in marks that are particular, corrected, and layered. A combination of referent and the faith of the drawer-painter perhaps created and stirred life on the page. In fact, when these were created, the maker was in a shadow and cried out with every work for the life and renewal to continue forth from inner wells of hope and faith.

These depictions were created with the purpose of life rather than some cultural iconography which connects deadening cliche of bones to death. Oil color, applied in limited palates, may infer possible vitality in the referent through relation and juxtaposition of value, hue, and saturation. A narrative is formed as these joints, which are incomplete, come together and interact in a process of renewal. One bone selflessly gives way as the other advances. Their shapes are formed in order to fit and interact in a beautiful empathy. In the perfected joint there is a true freedom for the members. Due to this infinite uniqueness, a perfected communion between the members arises. This freedom is within the purpose, however, for which they, as support and connection points, have been made.

Titles here are meant to suggest a direction of thought without thought being “contained” ichnographically. The titles, works, and statement run free from containment and frames because there is life and great potential for further change and growth. The “articulating” and “articulations” continue.

View this series, Compose Not Decay: Articulating Articulations

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A note about the author

is a visual artist based in Indianapolis. She is drawn to natural, organic objects and portrays them with oil on textured surfaces. Often, she presents her subject in dynamic still life with a shift of time through movement or growth-decay.