"One space spreads through all creatures equally-
Inner-world-space. Birds quietly flying go
Flying through us"
Rainer Maria Rilke
A series of studies of light and shadow on water opened up a way to connect portraits of humans with portraits of other species, the shared space reflecting a sense of shared consciousness. The intense psychological space created by placing the figures in water blurs the boundary between interior and exterior, motion and stillness, surface and depth, viewer and subject, and the subjects themselves. Shadows and reflections break up and overlap, connecting and separating, mirroring and distorting. There is a concern for what is perceived by the conscious mind and what is relegated to the unconscious, what is visible and what is hidden, what is rational and what is irrational, what is constructive and what is destructive. Issues of extinction arise: extinction of the other, extinction of the self. Consciousness weaves in and out. Foreground figures remain clear and detailed while others are hazier, reminiscent of a dream or hypnotic state where certain details jump out and others recede into the distance in a blur.
The easel-sized pieces begin with a human portrait from life; other species are added from a combination of sketches, photos and museum studies. The human portrait determines the direction of light and shadow. The oil sketches provide a starting point for the sky and water but, as work progresses, the effects can be as unpredictable as nature herself. Intention and openness to the process work in combination to form an open narrative.