Rhythms of Dissonance: New Paintings of Land and Water

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday afternoon, May 4, 1 – 4pm

EXHIBITION DATES: May 4 – 25, 2019


This new work continues my exploration of the interfaces between land and water.  Such interfaces include biologically rich and diverse wetlands and beaches, which are ecologically important.  They show rhythms of change in the movements of water, wind and plants: visible flux.  A secluded rainy beach, where grasses that are rooted in gravel and driftwood sway with the incoming tide, is an unmarked memorial to my mother.  A sandy open beach at low tide, with rounded high white clouds scudding across a blue sky, is an unmarked memorial to my father.  The memories of those beaches seem to have been made such a long time ago.

Now, fire cuts through wetlands and wind throws down trees.  Soot darkens glaciers and storm-driven king tides rip out wharves.  The effects of climate change are increasingly dramatic, and devastatingly beautiful.  They remind me of literary descriptions of war, captured succinctly by Suborno Chatterji: “[writers have described] war as a disembodied presence with a life of its own, where instruments of death such as white phosphorus and napalm are magically transformed into morally indifferent objects of beauty”1.  We are beginning to believe that we are destroying the world, yet we continue to believe that our lives can and should continue as they always have.  We are at the mercy of our capacity for cognitive dissonance.  Our inability or unwillingness to change is not sustainable.  We are at war with ourselves.

1. Suborno Chatterji, 2005, Imagining Viet Nam: Tim O’Brien’s “The Things they Carried”.  Lasalle University Digital Commons

- Veronica Plewman