After I made Calm Among The Ruins it provoked in me feelings I felt living in my first neighborhood on the Lower East Side in NYC. When I moved there in 1981 it was in the throes of being decimated. There were more drugs around than people it seemed, even though it was a very dense neighborhood. There were the original inhabitants, the oldest synagogue in the city and rows of abandoned buildings. It was a neighborhood in flux with this calm center. Buildings were being burned all around us, yet there was a core that was still intact.
But Calm Among The Ruins is closer to me than how it provoked feelings about my old neighborhood. It is more personal. As a 62 year old woman I think about the years of my manic and depressive episodes. Of days where all I wanted to do was die yet was too tired to even try to end it all. When times of elation felt dead to me and all that was ahead was just total blackness, or even worse an endless expansion of nothing. A world of no feelings but only a cocoon of joylessness-no calm, no consolation. The depressive part of manic depression left me limp. Gone were the days of delight over the smallest of things, that feeling of total well-being with the universe.
Yet through it all-and I don’t know how – there must have been this core running through me, this calm that was unrecognizable yet still there, a calm that in the present was illusive among the wreckage, among the ruins. It was a calm that held me together somewhere deep inside, so hidden that I was not even aware of it. When I made my collage Calm Among The Ruins these thoughts were not conscious. But they were such a core of my being that they came out visually before they whirled around in my head where I could grasp them. I suppose that it is a habit of mine to put meaning to a finished collage. I am always so astounded as to what I can express visually before my consciousness gets it. That is one of the beauties of visual art. You make a piece with your whole being, especially the parts that are buried. For me a finished collage is an emotional document, a document that is for ever a part of me; a document forever a part of time.
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