Being Text and Time

We are inescapably materially embodied creatures. The core of my visual research practice explores how materials such as wax, paper, steel, lead, ash and gold can be juxtaposed with images of the equally material body to create and complicate meaning. In the body of work called Being Text and Time, I layered encaustic over graphite drawings and images such as PET scans, navigational charts, maps or texts, then juxtaposed planes of materials with these mapped figurative/textual encaustic surfaces. Discovering the potency of materials has been exhilarating. Steel, wax, gold and lead all carry meanings, are coded with significance ranging from precious to toxic and when paired with the figure heighten a corporeal reading of the figure. Medical images map the body’s interior and a variety of maps and texts, similarly encoded with layers and levels of cultural significance, collide in unexpected chaotic potentialities of meaning-making. The meaning of body unravels over these various signs and materials, all culturally and geographically located. We are each alive in our own skins and fragile, material beings. It is in attending to and honouring this miraculous, unexplainable, material existence that occasionally in unexpected moments, something is opened and realized, glimmers of meaning beyond words, made manifest. Spirituality and materiality are of one piece, unavoidably connected. To avoid, deny or denigrate material existence is to turn from what we are given. Spirituality is embedded at a cellular level into the material realm and it is in plunging into the material that the liminal is recognized.