Neither Here Nor There
The images used in my most recent work titled “Neither Here nor There”, were gathered and decided upon long before the beginning of the pandemic. However, the process of painting the work began once we were already in lock down and in the thick of it. It has been thought-provoking to reflect on how the impact of my experience during Covid shifted my viewpoint and ideas of what the work represented and how much more connected and personal it felt because of when it was created. My original intention was to paint these boarded up homes that were destined to be demolished, as if they were final portraits, to memorialize their existence, and pay homage to the memories they held while inhabited. These structures were in a place of transition, waiting in limbo, neither here nor there.
I am curious about the specific virtues a shelter can hold, and wonder how the meaning and purpose of a structure shifts when its original intent is no longer relevant? What remains? What secret memories, good and bad, happy and sad, do they hold within their walls? Inhabited spaces bear the essence of a “notion of home”. In The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard describes the house as an “imagined vertical being. It rises upward. It differentiates itself in terms of its verticality. It is one of the appeals to our consciousness of verticality. A house is imagined as a concentrated being. It appeals to our consciousness of centrality.”
But what does the uninhabited space bear the essence of-the absence of presence or the presence of absence? These once occupied homes, now vacant spaces, are only illusions of stability. They are waiting. Waiting for a change in their circumstances to occur, of which they have absolutely no control. In the middle of March, I too had to wait. The entire world had to wait.
I began to consider how difficult it is to simply wait. To sit with change is an extremely uncomfortable place to be. And to sit with change that one has no control over, no say in the matter, with no specific end date in sight, is extraordinarily challenging. Feelings of uncertainty, instability, insecurity, sadness, boredom, helplessness, impatience, and fear were just a few of my daily emotions. But there were also many moments of noticing beauty in the mundane, thankfulness for my friends, family and health, and a profound appreciation for my circumstances. The imagery of the work stayed the same, but personally, there is now something extra present in the work. There is an additional awareness of what it means to wait, to sit with change, and perhaps also, a tangible sentiment of hopefulness for what the possibilities of change can bring once the waiting is over.