CATHERINE KERNAN
STATEMENT: LISTENING WATER



Just as the rhythm, texture and dimensions of life inform visual language, the images in this show aim to convey the pace of life." They are poetically synthesized images drawn on the emotive and structural dimensions of internalized landscape memories

My personal relationship with landscape is deeply rooted in an upbringing as the daughter of an international forester. While living overseas, awareness of the land was primary and provided continuity. And traveling, once a routine, became an addiction. Painting trips to Greece, Ireland, England, Ecuador, Mexico, France, and Spain all inform my image-making

Listening Water, the overall title of this exhibition, derives from the premise that human actions elicit a reaction from the land in a dynamic relationship. This concept is integral to Native American traditions of the Canadian Yukon where the human interface with nature is understood to be mutable and reactive.*

In these images the water surfaces are permeable, flowing around and through, concealing and revealing, above and below. The scrim of branches is a navigational aid suggested by the ancient sea charts of the South Pacific. It provides intersections and scale references. The branches are syncopated and lyrical. They float up from below, and they weave in and out of the picture plane. They are locators and a safety net to slow down falling into the image

Using woodblocks to carry color, each image comprises layer upon layer of ink laid down in a painterly process of controlled accident. Collaboration with the process means that every mark and edge emerges from an alternation of intuition and deliberation. The process of transferring from a matrix yields repetition and variation. It counteracts the preciousness of the hand stroke by incorporating accident and surprise. Repetition encourages humility, is meditative, and engenders epiphanies. Slight subtleties of color, shape and texture become more noticeable. No mark is made in isolation so every mark has a precedent, a past and a potential future

Deciphering the layers so they come together as both rich and transcendent is the visual equivalent of remembering through layers of time to decipher the relative importance of events and memories, to understand the past.


*Do glaciers Listen? Dr. Julie Cruikshank University of British Columbia
My Old People's Stories Dr. Catharine McClellan University of Wisconsin at Madison