Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pamela Mills: Living with Doom

two words left to us
from the oldest writing:
Eden and Abyss

crevice edge crack of doom
nothing will ever be the same
is this where we look for the garden

(excerpts from Jody Aliesan's poem, "out of Sumer" in Grief Sweat, 1991)

Image: Douglas fir (4), 2008, oil on board, 36"x 24"

I paint to survive. I paint as part of this planet that longs for survival. I paint to add presence to an imagery of survival. I fear for the Earth, I fear for human flesh and mind. I see us facing an abyss of our own making, fearing the crash to earth of Eden's ancient Tree.

I paint to celebrate, to mourn, to inhabit, to seize. I paint to grab myself by the shoulders, spin myself around 'til I'm dizzy and disoriented. Then the Tree's heavy branches, the hanging deadwood precarious above me, become my reality.

This Earth holds us, created us, is the nearest thing to god that I know. And now our fingers curl and clench the earth. Will we release this squeeze, this necklace of torture? Or will we open our palms to safety?

"Doom" is a frightening word. I think we need to look it in the face, use our fears to energize us, and get to work.

-- Pamela Mills, in "Living with Doom," September 5-27, 2008, a group exhibition at the Collective Visions Gallery, Bremerton WA, USA.