Jolene Powell: Grey Veil Landscapes

April 8, 2014


On view April 18 through May 11 in the Owen Art Gallery.

Please join us for an opening reception on Friday, April 18 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.


Artist Statement:

Grey Veil Series: Hidden Island Oil on canvas, 20" x 16"

Grey Veil Series: Hidden Island
Oil on canvas, 20″ x 16″

The imagination it takes to smell the air in my work elicits specificity to ones personal connection to a landscape. Most of us have a landscape place in our minds where we go that contains our memories, dreams, and daydreams. Once mentally in that place, remembrance occurs. As noted in 2000 by a NYU study on memory: the act of remembering changes you. We often think of retrieving a memory like going through a filing cabinet of memories until we come up with our original experience. But in fact, based on scientists Karim Nader and Glenn Shafe’s study, a memory is only as real as the last time you remembered it. Therefore the more you remember something the less accurate it becomes. Freud also stated that “memory is altered in the absence of the original experience, becoming less about what you remember and more about you.”

In Grey Veil Series I document nature as seen between the rocks, clouds, memories, daydreams, and lifecycles. For me, a seascape holds the same principles and notions as the woods: stillness, timelessness, silence, and presence. During my sabbatical at the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation on Great Cranberry Island, Maine, I met people who traveled from all over the world to spend time on the island year after year after year.    The same people came to the same coast for generations, and the coast never changed, however the people and their memory did. After returning from the island I was left with only my memory and recollection of the seascape, thus my subsequent work is more about my personal experience and less about Great Cranberry Island. Memory is created and stored between the synapses’ just as the truth of the sea lies between the rocks, what I paint is the space in between experience and memory. The murkiness of the fog obscures the edges and seams of the rocks to render them calm and present. My color choice is reminiscent of the hues captured by observing the mist and haze from the early morning and chilled summer evening.

Each time I look at one of my paintings I remember the coast of Maine and the numerous times I have painted there, however I have a love-hate relationship with the memory. I want to be taken to the clear headspace my painting affords, however each time I recollect, a piece of the experience is lost; becoming more abstract. The longer I am away, the slighter my hand becomes, focusing more on nuance and straightforwardness rather than the fevered documentation that occurs when working in life. The dichotomy of working from and in the absence of my subject is an integral balance of perception and invention that serve the symphony of time, space and light I convey. Each time I remember the coast I change because the experience of recollection is never in the same place or with the same thoughts. I intend for a viewer to also remember a dream, daydream, or experience upon seeing my work.

To see more of Jolene’s work, please  click here. 


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