Embracing Contradiction

solo exhibition at the Rockport Art Association and Museum, 2016

This body of work was inspired by Emily Dickinson's poem "It was not death, for I stood up". 

I first read this poem in a college English class over 30 years ago. The way the speaker tried to understand her experience through her senses – it was not night, because she heard the noon bells ring; it was not fire, because her feet were cold as marble; and finding no single answer, she allowed all of these seeming opposites to define what she felt – “but most like chaos, stopless, cool”. Something about it electrified me. It opened me up to the possibility of embracing contradictions, to the awareness that the complexity of one’s reality need not be reduced in order to understand and describe it simply.

 

In this series, I wanted to capture those themes – the chaos of experience juxtaposed with the attempt to find or impose order; the internal pressure that arises when confusion and emotion are compelled to be fitted into an orderly and narrow set of definitions or expectations; and the immediacy of the senses which cannot be reduced to a single point or message.