Today was meant to be the opening day of my first solo exhibition at The Phoenix Hall in Newton Dee, Aberdeen. It was a date written in red and underlined in my diary. It also had ridiculously happy smiley faces next to it. But, as with so many events, this has had to be postponed and will most likely be held in 2021 now. However, I still wanted to mark the occasion so I’ve decided to offer a wee sneak-peak preview of some of my work.
The exhibition, ‘Love Letters From The Labyrinth‘ includes oil and cold wax paintings, erasure poems and papercuts but I’ve chosen to show a small sample of the paintings for now.
I have been working with the labyrinth for almost a decade now, deepening my understanding of how it can enhance our sense of wellbeing. It complements the work I do as a therapeutic writing facilitator beautifully and I enjoy offering workshops that combine the two.
When I began painting, something I pursue intuitively, I imagined the symbol of the labyrinth would feature heavily, but that’s not what has happened. What features most consistently is the writing I do to record and understand the lessons to be learnt from embarking on a journey with the labyrinth.
I have also used writing to symbolise the wisdom to be found when we walk to the centre of the labyrinth and take time to be still and listen to ourselves. I believe this wisdom exists deep within us and it’s the process of walking the labyrinth, slowing down and the stillness to be found at the centre that allows us to access what we actually already know but perhaps haven’t been paying attention to in our busy lives. These pieces of wisdom I regard as love letters to ourselves.
During the process of ‘going with the flow’ of my painting, I also realised that I didn’t want the writing to be readable necessarily (although some portions are here and there). This led to the discovery of asemic writing – literally writing with no meaning that leaves the viewer to interpret the meaning for themselves. I also wanted my use of symbolic writing to signify the lost language and knowledge of the labyrinth. Being over 4,000 years old, we do not know where or why the first labyrinths were built. And so we have to guess at this and trust in the relationship we have with it now.
These five paintings are also a broad representation of the different ways I have been using texture to provide a sense of history – something the addition of cold wax medium to oil paint enables. The depth and texture of the layers of these paintings is somewhat lost in digital format but I hope that what is shown here is enough to peak your interest.
And once I can write that new date for the exhibition in my diary, I hope this sneak-peak might have made you curious enough to come along and have a look for yourself.
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All images Copyright Elaine Reid 2020.