|Catherine Nolan art & illustration||
Plant biology text-book, pencil, tea bags, gouache, watercolour, & collage
All traces disappear with time. The wind removes them, the rain washes them away, and the snow covers all. The cleaning crew of the forest takes apart the carcasses of living things, and time silently erases everything, including the traces of seasons … Traces are physical things that sometimes have spiritual properties that reverberate in our souls. And so the traces I find always remain in my heart.
Sooyong Park, The Great Soul of Siberia
Knitted copper wire, Bohemia glass beads, stitching, & collage on gouache-painted balsa.
The solutions to the changing climate, although in the news frequently, do not seem to be easy for most people to contemplate.
Part of the problem with getting people to engage with climate change is that it exists mainly as an idea that comes to us through science, and many people hold the communications of science at a remove from their everyday lives. Climate change is not yet integrated into our society culturally, through the arts.
Engaging with climate change through art gives us a chance to bring this topic into an accessible, human-scaled arena.
To my dear gay, bi, and transgendered friends and family, I am sorry that your business is being dragged through the public sphere in this fearful, uncontained way.
Unfortunately our culture is still controlled by dinosaurs; venal corporations, and fearful, ignorant folk, both of whom are operating from an outmoded paternalistic model of control that is hell-bent on keeping people separate from each other, unhappy with themselves, and dependent on scraps of praise and blame (and buying things to feel better). These are people who are deluded to the point that they think their idea about marriage is more real than the love that others are experiencing, and that their beliefs about the way others should live, should be privileged over the wishes of others.
The debate about gay marriage has been highjacked by 'concern' for the well-being of children, which, while not the most relevant issue at hand in the upcoming 'vote', is worth addressing.
Goodness is born when two people join in a love relationship, and children, if there should be any, are blessed by the care and attention they receive from their parents.
The controllers and separators among us speak of heterosexual marriage as if it automatically confers wisdom, stability, and love on the family it contains, but given that the divorce rate currently runs at about 50%, this is clearly fantasy. Spending a day in the family court puts paid to the fiction that heterosexual marriage is automatically protective for children.
What is protective and nurturing for children, is conscious, firm, engaged, loving parenting. Period. I honour all parents who are breaking free of the brutal heritage of old-school parenting ('spare the rod and spoil the child') that until recently was prevalent, and so damaging to the whole of society.
"When we love one another the most delicate truth of that love is held in the spirit, but my body is the record of those I have loved. I feel their bones as my bones, almost literally. This record is autonomous. It continues, dumbly, to persist. Its power is independent of time. The love is fixed, instantly accessible to memory, somehow stained into my body as colour into cloth."
Anne Truitt, Daybook
She climbs easily on the box
That seats her above the swivel chair
At adult height, crosses her legs, left ankle over right,
Smoothes the plastic apron over her lap
While the beautician lifts her ponytail and laughs,
“This is coarse as a horse’s tail.”
And then as if that’s all there is to say,
The woman at once whacks off and tosses
its foot and a half into the trash.
And the little girl who didn’t want her hair cut,
But long ago learned successfully how not to say
What it is she wants,
Who, even at this minute cannot quite grasp
her shock and grief,
Is getting her hair cut. “For convenience,” her mother put it.
The long waves gone that had been evidence at night,
When loosened from their clasp,
She might secretly be a princess.
Rather than cry out, she grips her own wrist
And looks to her mother in the mirror.
But her mother is too polite, or too reserved,
So the girl herself takes up indifference,
While pain follows a hidden channel to a deep place
Almost unknown in her,
Convinced as she is, that her own emotions are not the ones
her life depends on,
She shifts her gaze from her mother’s face
Back to the haircut now,
So steadily as if this short-haired child were someone else.
~ David Levine ~
"Until the late twentieth century, every generation throughout history lived with the tacit certainty that there would be generations to follow. Each assumed, without questioning, that its children and children's children would walk the same Earth, under the same sky…" Joanna Macy
… And now…?
Watercolour & gouache on balsa
"For three years he had been planting trees in this wilderness. He had planted one hundred thousand. Of the hundred thousand, twenty thousand had sprouted. Of the twenty thousand he sill expected to lose about half, to rodents or the unpredictable designs of Providence. There remained ten thousand oak trees to grow where nothing had grown before." The Man Who Planted Trees, Jean Giono.
Watercolour, gouache & pencil on balsa panel.
Arousing our connection to the *sacred in the mundane* speaks to our highest levels of responsibility. In my work, I explore my sense of wonder and awe at the natural environment. So many of the processes that are essential to life are invisible to the naked eye.