Tuesday, October 27, 2009

my ghost likes to travel

These paintings come together in a process that feels haphazard and chaotic. To begin, the waters must flow. Paint is diluted, viscosity is determined. A spill is launched. Textured gesso, or raw un-stretched canvas, waits, drinks in the manna, begs for more. This is the way continents form. Coloured mud coagulates. Sometimes it blends into the damp waiting loam, sometimes it runs side by side through twisted terrain creating raspberry ripples or cosmic gas clouds. I crouch down close to the canvas, sit back on my heels and watch the paint dry, boredom’s proverbial cliché. I am transfixed. (This is not boring to me). Sometimes I am compelled to tip the whole thing to the north, running rivulets in harmony, tilt it to the east and back south. Thus, a network of loops is produced. Cells. Catacombs. Cul-de-sacs. Sub-divisions in the desert. Embedded within each terrain is the map, the matrix. In order to keep us safe, in order to get us home, maps must tell us little white lies. Blood must flow for life to continue. Capillaries carry my dreams beyond tomorrow, toward the unknowable. Future generations sail down these salty rivers. Ancestors lurk within microscopic cells, waiting to tell their unfinished stories. I hover above the topography of drying paint, a satellite on reconnaissance. A network of patterns and systems emerge from the mist, mysterious and comfortable. I watch as layers peel away, sub-atomic, chthonic, geological, geo-political, social, biological. They tell me what I need to know. They show me how to stay safe and how to find my way home. But who are these visitors? Faces materialize out of the tangle of patterns. Some of them are familiar; my grandmother and my grandfather. Others, I don’t know. Are they ghosts who’ve come to haunt me? The strangers who lurk in my own subconscious? Pilgrims or refugees?