Rinse, Wash, Repeat
"Rinse, Wash, Repeat" was created over a long period of eight months. It began on election night (2016) when I took the remainder of my wine bottle gone rancid and poured it over my white "Comforter."
With the shock that we were now a TrumpAmerica, my white middle class comfort was no longer a privilege I could accept. I knew I had to question my social comforts and find a way to actively contribute to creating the change I want to see in the world. As a mother of two young children, I have the responsibility to fight for their future and the planet we all live on. As a Buddhist I have to come to terms with the energy of fear and to act with the integrity of love. As an American citizen I have the obligation to speak out and protect those that are oppressed. As an artist I have the opportunity to give voice to this all. I was taking my first action in the studio.
The next morning I walked into my studio to the potent smell of a winery rather than a painting studio. I opened up all the windows to let the fresh air clear my head. A friend came over and we sat with coffee mugs in hand and listened to the thoughtful and encouraging words from Obama, our previous President. Using this moment of optimism, together we poured coffee onto the "blood-red" stained sheet.
Later that night as the substances of wine and coffee wore off, I warmed some water with coco powder and brushed on the chocolate. Utilizing these substances of "comfort" both revealed my privilege of having access to them all, as well as my aversion to remain with the difficult and mask them with sensorial substances. My assessment of this came from my Buddhist practice of learning to be with the difficult and seeing them for "Just this," instead of being in states of denial and aversion.
After several cycles of revolving between active uses of these substances and others of abstaining, I came to see the repetition of habits and coming to terms with this in my life. As an act of acknowledging the "cleaning up" process, I decided to give the sheet a wash in the laundry machine.
Upon removing the torn and tattered piece, I hung it outside to dry.
I proceeded to mend the sheet. Then I paused, to see what my next response would be. During this incubation period, I picked up a book a friend had sent me called, "Everyday Zen." In it the author talks about "burning soft coal," which is a metaphor for the act of being in aversion to difficult states. Utilizing a soft vine charcoal, I drew a rectangle that creates a contrast to the otherwise clean, white surface.
The form which was evolving out of response to my reflections presented itself to me as a scroll. Taking that structure one step further I decided to make a literal scroll out of the piece by rolling the top and bottom of it around dowels.