Evoking more than the personal

Along The Rio Chama, painting by Judith Reeve

“Art is the memorialization of elemental forces of life which, having no permanent language or iconography, require art to be known to all.”

“The eros of the eye, that is visual art: striking the viewer so deeply, with such authority, the merely personal is obliterated; something like an archetypal self is evoked.”

Both these quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson appear on the first page of my journal.  They have guided my work.  The emergence of an “archetypal self” has been of keen interest to me.  Thematically I have focused on the conflict between the body and the spirit, between material elements and the soul.  This conflict, as I witnessed it in the landscape of the west, further provoked my imagination.  This tension I have attempted to magnify imaginally by looking to mythic figures whose qualities can harness the elements and provide a sense of order.  These symbolic figures, similar to those encountered by Odysseus on his journey, mirror an interior geography.  It is this interior landscape I am interested in and its analogical relationship to the world.  I see it in the west and I see it in the human figure as well.

(This artist statement was used in a program for a show featuring images painted in New Mexico along the Rio Chama.)

Author: Judith Reeve

For nearly 30 years I've developed my painting practice in the studio, building on what I leaned from my student days at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art. Along with my daily journey creating images which I write about here on this blog, I am also currently writing a book on the color practice of Robert Henri.

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