Thursday, February 22, 2018

Beauty of Decay / Contemplating Beauty

working with fiber and a certain lyricism

I have been writing over the years. I have written poems that are a pathway to understanding my inner world and the effect the natural world has upon my life transitions. The inter connection between the natural world and my inner self is always fluid. I have used fiber and textile for most of my artistic career. I am now adding a bit of poetry too, tucking it is here and there, along with photography of the landscape that speaks to me so often. I have found that how we interpret the world around us is imperative to how we make adjustments to challenges and find a way forward.

In the middle of this sort of dialogue is the question of my aging, how I see the world now as youth and beauty shift and present themselves differently. There is a new vocabulary that finds itself within my writing. There are words I did not think would be used when I was young, at least not often. These new words bring new imagery about death, decay, the meaning of aging and what the new image of beauty is.

Having seen such a great deal of death within the last decade and witnessing my own self moving into a different cycle, I have recalibrated my vision of beauty.

I think there is a tremendous value in the process of aging, the patina of life that wraps us up into a new type of nest. I am optimistic that if I can treasure the beauty of decay that I too can move forward in a joyfulness that all those who have gone before me would wish for.

It is not an easy feat in our society to embrace death and decay but what I see in these processes is the opportunity for enlightenment and rebirth.

Whether or not I can express any of these ideas in the upcoming show is as of yet unknown. I do however wish that you might visit the show at Piante and have some comment about what speaks to you and what does not.

Piante Gallery to exhibit my work for the month of March 2018 Saturday March 3rd 6-9 pm Opening

It has been a very busy year and I have pursued some different styles in the studio. I am happy to be showing recent work from the past 5 years that brings in the new mix of photography, painting and fiber. I hope you can join me at Piante this first Saturday evening in March. I am attaching Jasn Marak's notes for the Times Standard as he does a great job in describing the show.

Contemplating Beauty:
Jennifer Mackey at Piante
notes by Jason Marak for Times Standard

... Eureka's Piante gallery will be featuring textiles, paintings, photography, collage, and sculptural work – all by the same artist. Jennifer Mackey's exhibition of recent work, "The Beauty of Decay," will showcase her artistic versatility through an ongoing exploration of the natural world and our place within it.

For Mackey, the allure of the natural realm goes far beyond the composition of a vista or quality of light. "I'm definitely abstract in my approach," Mackey said. "Everything I look at becomes a landscape, or some kind of flora." Mackey describes her process as one of experience and reaction. "The work comes from an emotional response to landscape, especially a sensibility to texture." Perhaps best known for her textiles, Mackey attributes this textural affinity, in part, to many years of work with natural fibers, wools, silks, and handmade papers. Contact with these materials seems to have given Mackey an intimate understanding of natural forms that she has been able to carry across mediums, infusing textural awareness into all her work.

Even when Mackey's work presents more traditional notions of landscape, as with some of her photographs, the pieces often feature decaying flora, fauna, or dilapidated dwellings – the breaking down of the structure she is so familiar with. "I think it's been important for me to find beauty in death and decay," she explained. "It's important to think about what holds us together, what's the structure of our lives, where do we find beauty. It's fleeting. There's an impermanence that's wonderful to capture but also to let go of."

Despite the variety of work, there is a remarkable consistency of vision in the show. Mackey presents the viewer with myriad visual representations not just of the transformation from vibrancy to decay, but also of the simultaneity that exists: In the paintings, lively blues, greens, yellows, and reds are paired with gestures and lines that feel more subdued. Rugged looking, sometimes tattered textiles are wrapped and folded into beautiful, intricate forms. Photographs depict a model lying on the forest floor, wrapped in textiles that look as though they could have occurred naturally or by human hand, the model simultaneously other and part of the landscape, simultaneously being born from and returning to the earth.

"The Beauty of Decay" will open on Saturday. There will be a reception for the artist held in conjunction with Arts Alive.