Sunday, August 01, 2010

Women Imaging Women

Our friend Debra Lott, the Artist, opened her new exhibit this weekend at Pyro Gallery on historic West Market Street, in Louisville, Kentucky. We always enjoy her work, which provokes feelings on my part, as well as thought. The first exhibit we saw is shared in my Viewpoint posting. Her canvases are 72 inches tall (that's 6 feet) and you gain a different perspective by moving closer and farther away.
In this exhibit called "Women Imaging Women," Debbie focuses on mothers and daughters, including a series of paintings called "Dreams of My Daughter," a visual interpretation of her daughter's graphic descriptions of lucid dreams. I don't remember ever discussing my dreams with my mother, but Debbie does a wonderful job understanding her daughter. In this one, her daughter has the common dream about falling or flying, which everyone has from time to time.
In "Deep Sea Dreams," exotic fish swim in and out of reality, forming the pillow and sheets of the dreamer. Click on the picture to enlarge it a bit. Can you see the fish?
My favorite is one called "Blue Heron Dreams," where once again Great Blue Herons can be found surrounding the dreamer if you look just right. Here is the full image...
...followed by a focus on the girl's head...
...with a closeup of the Heron in the sheets. In this piece, Debbie says, the Herons indicate disappointment, worry and nagging problems. These creatures point to situations that the dreamer refuses to confront, and those that are causing fear and insecurity. Movie makers commonly make dream scenes, all blurry and moving, but Debbie worked harder, I think, to capture a moving dream on canvas. Wow, sounds like she studied more than art in school! explains her views on her art in a terrific video. Check it out!
Another artist at the exhibit is Betty Levy, who works with fabric. She followed the genealogy of 100 women in her family back to 1840, free stitching their names on antique linen handkerchiefs, then arranging them on the wall as a family tree. Her family came from Poland and Lithuania, so she sometimes had trouble finding the names, and embroidered those handkerchiefs as "Unknown Glazer" for one branch of the tree.
Betty shared her thoughts about this work with us, and I was truly moved. Thanks to Debbie and Betty for sharing themselves with all of us through this exhibit. It would be a frightening thing to put your feelings out for everyone to look at in a gallery.

I sometimes think about how little I know about my own family and background. My father was involved with his family genealogy, and we teased him that he had 200 years of dead relatives in his computer. But I was never really interested in too many of the details, which disappointed him. One set of my grandparents came from Vanceburg, KY, but I couldn't tell you anything more than that about them, even though I spent a week or two with them every summer as a child. James Michener is one of my favorite authors, and the continuity he draws for a family or region always strikes me. What will my grandchildren learn about us, when they are born? I've done nothing famous, or even particularly interesting. This area of the Ohio River Valley was so pivotal to the development of the entire country, yet the personal details are mostly hidden or forgotten. I would like to work with a historian on the Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve property. Even though I'm not related to any of the people, I would like to have some connection to their stories. Is this a sign that I'm getting old?

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