Urgent Stillness

With my senses cleared of screens and digital devices, I recently experienced a solitary retreat at the Morris Graves Foundation in Northern California. I found the environment of Morris Graves' home and studio more beautiful than any place I have ever seen. Experiences there were intense. I was witnessing all sorts of weather mirrored in The Lake, its colors and mood shifting moment to moment; finding myself enchanted by the mysterious tangled islands; seeing the trees around The Lake as a chorus of characters receding into more and more layered and distant arcs of deep blues and greens and rusty reds; feeling the tremors of an earthquake; floating and rowing on The Lake in early morning stillness; hearing a tree crack and fall in the forest and seeing the dust rise in the direction of the sound; lying under the night sky and seeing the stars in rotation around the North Star; seeing and hearing mysterious sights and sounds in the night; finding the Stinging Nettle and fortunately the moss antidote; seeing birds, birds of all kinds (Red Wing Blackbird, Wood Duck, Osprey) and hearing more unseen; following trails around The Lake and through the forest. I was engaging as one more creature in the mix.

A month later, I am adjusting to shifts in relating to myself and others, and to identifying and experiencing the small scraps of wilderness I find in my yard, my neighborhood, and my city. And then, there's painting. My aim to paint flowers during this retreat was diverted, I was drawn to places of mystery, these small islands of tangled growth that were host to so much life. So here I find myself within the studio walls, contemplating the intimate confines of pictorial space and stillness with its gravity and light and shadow, and feeling inclined to expand into a mythical space of movement where anything can happen.

Looking back over my last twenty years, I can see that I have worked to bring the unseen and the unheard into painting, that mythical space where anything can happen.

Fort Worth based Carol Ivey received a BA in studio art from the University of Texas at Austin. Ivey has taught numerous workshops and classes and has served as juror on exhibitions across north Texas. In 2013 and 2009 Ivey was a finalist in the Hunting Art Prize in Houston. Ivey has won awards for her submissions in Preservation is the Art of the City in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2012. Her work is included in the collections of Baylor All Saints Medical Center, Fort Worth; Diabetes and Thyroid Center of Fort Worth; Fidelity Investments, Boston; Frito-Lay, Inc., Dallas; and Texas Instruments, Dallas. Ivey is currently represented by Artspace111 in Fort Worth and by Hunt Gallery in San Antonio.