Yesterday morning before the opening, I walked around the town, which truly is a hamlet. Tiny, quiet, one general store, and that is it.
This was the old school, I think. There is a much more contemporary one built behind the main road with huge fields for a playground, baseball field, and rolling hills.
I barely took pictures of the show and forgot to take a huge stack of postcards to blanket anyone I meet in the next month. But Bright Hill will have readings that will bring more local people into the space, and that's really who the show is for.
Susan gave me this print as a gift, which I loved instantly. It's already above my bed. In her words,
the three women in the print represent the Three Sisters of Haudenosaunee tradition ... Three Sacred Sisters: Corn, Beans & Squash, primary food staples of the People of the Longhouse. Of course, in many cultures three women show up in one way or another ... this is how they show up in our tradition. They also go back to our Sky Woman Creation Story, because when Sky Woman fell through a hole in the Sky World she grabbed at the Celestial Tree up there ... one thing she pulled off the Tree were seeds to grow Corn, Beans & Squash ... she also pulled off Tobacco and so when we make Tobacco offerings and pray in that way, it goes back to our first home.No need for me to add to the poetry of a poet.
I chose the Sisters because we are women friends and because over the years you have sent me photographs of you and women friends .... very important among Haudenosaunee people for women to be support each other and be of strong and brave heart and give to their community. I see you as doing this.
This was on a trail that I walked with my sister and her husband today at Wave Hill, our little outing before having family time.
This was my absolute favorite drawing of my visit upstate. I had done the loop from the gallery to the church and up to the main drag, leading down the hill past the new school, and back, but had to do it again just to shoot this.
The library lives in the same building as the gallery. It's non-circulating and not catalogued yet, and covers only humanities, but it's a wonderful space for the community. I spent a good deal of my weekend in the children's loft on the floor working on my laptop.
I assume that this church is why it's named Church Street. The parishioners just came and went for the 9:15 service, no fuss, no muss.
My parents were really shocked by the back-country nature of this area, but it felt totally familiar and normal to me. It made me realize how much traveling I've done on my own path and how it leads me to places that all feel familiar, or come to be that way. Of course, a comfortable home is a wonderful thing to return to, but I find nothing weird or out of the ordinary about me ending up in green, quiet, sparsely-populated places with no cell phone reception.
This made me recognize that showing here is exactly what I was meant to do. The people who come are attentive and actually read the work, so it was ideal that there was such a heavy text component (makes sense, this being a word and image gallery). Everything fit. I had panicked in CT, thinking I didn't have enough work for the space, but it was just fine, especially since I recognized the great value of breathing space for work. I feel lucky to have a place where I was encouraged to show old work b/c it felt like a short retrospective, giving continuity to work that seemed all over the place when considered separately.
In my artist talk, I went through the two galleries, talking about the journey that started with the dying of a longtime friend, to losing her and my search alone, to constant traveling and traversing various media in the wandering. In the story that serves as the anchor to the exhibit, the wandering girl finally decides to return home and that is when the hanji kicks in (as in, literally, becomes part of the artwork). As my statement said, "This is the country that holds many of the stories that complete my own."
The audience was wonderful, invested, and followed my wandering right onto the path of last year, even when I did the show-and-tell portion of my talk with hanji objects and pieces. Someone asked what was next, and I realized that I will be at this forever: I like beating at the messy paths too much to go mainstream. And I've been on its fringes for so long that it feels perfectly normal to me. So, after today's lack of exercise, tomorrow is back to work: full force into Show #2.