Marlana Stoddard Hayes
From the window of the house I share with my husband and daughter, I hear the call of the Bald Eagle and Towhee and am reminded that we share our planet home with so many other beings. It is fitting that my personal work now traces a path through the garden cycle, as I have been fortunate to work daily while also being a mother. These relationships also provide some windows to the occurring question…”how can you perceive a relationship with the Sacred and how does it manifest in daily life as a part of direct experience?” “Do new waves of insight come to a person when faced with significant challenges?”
From tending to and observing the cyclical changes at work in a garden environment over nearly a 20 year period, a model gradually emerged for me that provides a sense of how to manage being alive in a time of great chaos and unknowns. Over 15 years ago, many large fungi appeared to me and suggested to my psyche “incorporate our energies into your practice.” I was hesitant and unknowing of what I was doing, but I trusted in the process. Further research into their symbolic meaning led to a “study of the shadow” or the unexamined side of the psyche. This work was reaching into the interior of my being and not something I had the time to examine earlier in my life. Now in middle age, this time has appeared.
Building on an ethos of gradualism, and noticing the cycles of Nature are sensitive and responsive is the model of being I use in making my work. The peace and a sense of calm it brings to the spirit and mind is a voice that speaks to me clearly. The painting practice I have evolved follows ancient European methods to refine thoughts and feelings, illuminated to me from a former time of living abroad. Since my early education in Vienna, Austria and then recurrent periods of rural living in the region of Provence, France, I have followed a contemplative path. My work is coxed into being and follows pattern constructions of erasure and accretion that keep evolving until a balance is achieved. Painting as a process allows the body and psyche to signal its recognition of this peace and equilibrium; thus its residue creates images for the world.