Why make art?  Since our culture certainly doesn't need more stuff, I'll just defend Beauty and Truth.  If, as I believe, truth and beauty require the best of us, then aren't we always in need of more evidence, more information about them?  Aren't we always in need of their acolytes? Don't we need artists in all fields who might evoke, in physical space and time, some of the restorative power of these two great Abstractions? I believe the vocation of art is inherently spiritual. By responding to the chaos and order we see around us and within us--the terrible beauties and simple truths of our lives--an artist constructs a record of facts, connections, and relationships. An honest walk in beauty lends grace to our lives.


It's not that subject matter is unimportant.  Everything matters. Artists will examine anything entering our field of vision. We make our particular paths flourish by paying attention and choosing for our work whatever stays with the heart and mind. Carl Jung put it eloquently:  "The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the object it loves."

I continually ponder the forces and the forms of nature. I am besotted with certain large abstractions such as space and time, also with formal and poetic abstractions of line and gesture and rhythm and contrast. I love both delicate contours and raw slabs of color. I seek to speak everything with the language of color. The pictorial image will reflect whatever it is that engages me wholly; I do not wish to alter anything. Nor do I want to capture or control or even describe the subject of my attention. I do seek connection, discovery, a conversation, a dance...


I see painting as a poetic art which invites (demands?) attentive engagement both for its formation and for its ongoing communication.  Paintings, like poems, are distillations of experience.  Their force and meaning can be obscured or revealed depending upon the quality of participation: of the artist during creation and later of the viewer.

Sama (from Sufism) means deep listening.  The poet Rumi is given credit for this word in its role as a participatory attentive state of mind and body. I suggest that the state of spiritual ecstasy hoped for in the various practices of sama are parallel to the fruits of distilled meanings in art that are released in communion with the viewer.

Other conditions involved in this attentive and participatory state are: emptiness, silence, patient attention. Paintings are very silent, especially on public and gallery walls.  They stay silent and virtually invisible until real participation begins. 

I care about the places, the spaces, and ways my artwork can be installed to enhance the possibilities of contemplative engagement. Preserving space for silence and simplicity, and involving the company of other disciplines (music, dance, poetry readings, panel discussions, etc.) are curatorial challenges that occasionally engage me publicly and are always present in my studio practice.

Marguerite Fletcher

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