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Holding the tension

September 7, 2016
Little 3D boxes waiting to be finished in a 3D piece I started a long time ago

Little boxes waiting to be finished in a 3D piece

I don’t know where I came across this phrase: “holding the tension,” but when I saw it I was in the middle of trying to figure out a title for my solo show at a local gallery (Blue Lily Atelier) in October.

I was writing down everything that popped into my head: seeking stasis; fault lines and fractures; disrupted paradise; lurking on the edge; finding the edges; disturbances; shifting sensibility; reverberation; etc.

The work I’m showing is from a series called Fault Lines, and that’s what I ended up using for the title.  But holding the tension really sounded good. The series is a reflection of the uncertainty of all our taken-for-granted foundations, whether they are physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental. Fault lines typically refer to geological faults, but, for me, they easily extend to our life experiences, which is why holding the tension seemed so appropriate.

Fault Line pieces

Two of the paintings in the show (each 10.5 x 10.5, mixed media on paper)

As I was working on some new pieces for the show, I thought about how important it is for us, as artists, to keep renewing the creative tension that challenges us when working. For me, it’s important to push my boundaries a bit and stay on the edge of what’s comfortable by exploring new ideas, new materials, and new processes. Or maybe just pushing the familiar a bit further by trying a different color than I normally would choose, or using a different tool to apply paint, or turning a painting upside down just when I thought I had it right side up. Little changes sometimes make a big difference in my perception and motivation….

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mikki Aronoff permalink
    September 9, 2016 10:59 am

    This is great!….Just started going back to WAG. Think I’ve forgotten how to approach art, so I’m loving your writing! mixxx

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    • September 11, 2016 2:28 pm

      Thanks, Mikki! Glad to hear you’re back with WAG. It’s an inspiring group…and I’m sure you haven’t forgotten how to approach art. I’m sure it’s just been sidetracked for a bit while you do some writing.


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