I am excited to share the images created by a grad student I have had the pleasure to work with since she was in my course last year. http://naomifriend.com/
by Naomi Friend
“So long as we live, we are going to be living with skylarks, nightingales, daffodils, waterfowl, streams, forests, mountains, and all the other creatures that romantic poets and artists have yearned toward. And by the way we live we will determine whether or not those creatures will live.”
− Wendell Berry, from The Whole Horse
Making art is like working with the land. It is a struggle to make something out of marks that cannot be erased or moved. The struggle is for control and also for a loss of it. In the Midwest, we are continually working the soil, digging, planting, and nurturing – it is what our lives are about. My artwork is about the desire for whole relationships and whole communities, but also recognizes the complexities that arise in a contemporary world. Through the process of creating artwork, I re-frame my memories and ideas (which have been developed by my response to my community) and turn them into physical, tangible objects – pieces of art.
I create the work because I sense in myself a divorce from the land and food growing, even though I live in the heart of the Midwest. This alarms me because to be separated from that which is physical and essential seems to be a symptom of a deeper sickness. It allows ideas to be only ideas: they take no form or action, and dreams do not come to fruition. By the work of our hands we live, and without it we die. My urbanized context allows me to live in ignorance; I do not know how the work of my hands brings me nourishment except in a very abstract economic sense, and yet, I live. It seems that something is disconnected.
The spaces I create act as a parallel space for contemplation and reflection. By submitting to this parallel world created by my imagery, I can see myself within a new context, and this helps change how I see myself. I hope others will see themselves in a new way as well. The art is intended to be more than an act of simple meditation, but a spur or catalyst. I hope to create a space for dialogue to get to know our disconnection from our land.
“There is what my reason tells me. There is what my church tells me. There is what my dreams tell me. There is what this land tells me. I’m coming to accept that I’ll never bring all those things together before I die. But on my strongest days, I can tell myself without guilt or fear, it is not paganism or idolatry or sacrilege or sin. It is just what I know. And what they tell me, these things I finally let myself trust, is what we’re doing to this land is not only murder. It is suicide.”
− Ann Pancake, from Strange As This Weather Has Been