Saturday, October 1, 2016

Exploring Pain Through Paint

I received the Pickett Endowment to pursue creating a body of work exploring the pain being experienced within the North West Yearly Meeting. In this season we are facing a deep diversity in our views of human sexuality, both within our individual churches as well as the entire meeting itself. I have seen individuals on all sides of the issue experiencing deep pain as the NWYM treads through such a sensitive topic. As we begin to understand how diverse our beliefs are I believe it is becoming harder and harder to see one another well. We are clouded by our opinions and frustration with those who are different than us. Within these paintings I am interested in reminding myself and the members of the NWYM that everybody, even those whose beliefs are contrary to your own, is hurting in this season.

I have collected half of my photo references for this project and will get the rest by the end of the month. As I collect images of individuals from the NWYM I am also collecting stories. It has been beautiful and challenging to sit with people who are different than I am. I have had to remind myself to give them space to speak of their experiences without involving my own beliefs and convictions in the conversation. As I learn about our meeting I am continuously reminded how beautiful our Creator's work is and how our minds, hearts and bodies have been crafted so uniquely. 

Between now and July 2017 I will create 7-12 paintings to display at next year's Yearly Meeting. They will be on 3' round panels and the figures will be larger than life (See images below). My hope for this project is that it will create space for people to remember the humanity of all members of the meeting. I hope that this display will facilitate conversation, forgiveness and learning. 

I have begun my first painting and some of my process is displayed below. When I sit with individuals I take many photos from different angles so I have plenty of information to work form. I also take images that are distorted by motion. When I create the paintings I often choose a few images to combine. You can see below how images are combined into one painting.

Here are some reference images I have taken so far followed by a small painting study: 

Here is a the process of a painting that is further along:

Here is a painting that has multiple viewpoints. This is not for this project but is an example of something I will explore in these paintings. I feel that this strategy can communicate the complexity of a single individual:

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