At the Crossroads – and show reminder

At the Crossroads, Jean Reece Wilkey, oil, 39x27 in
At the Crossroads, Jean Reece Wilkey, oil, 39x27 in
At the Crossroads, Jean Reece Wilkey, oil, 39×27 in

My dogs chase rabbits. Normally that is not a problem since they are not fast enough to catch Jack Rabbits. But once in a while I get panicked when they chase a little bunny. Little white-tailed desert bunnies, although they are fast, are not always the wisest about where to find quick shelter under a prickly pear or a nearby hole under rocks. They can run straight ahead for too long and tire themselves. That can spell disaster for a bunny.

As humans we build shelter to protect us from nature. From the cold, the snow, the rain, the heat, and from predators. We have increasingly shut nature out as our architecture has evolved from buildings with open colonnades and courtyards that were part of the living spaces, to open plan houses that have little communication with the outside world, to office buildings with windows that don’t even open. We think we can control nature. We usually ignore it. We isolate ourselves from nature and thereby, from not only it’s hardships, but also from its gifts.

This painting develops an interior space in the foreground; a space filled with house plants that are not native to the high desert scene in the background. The wildlife, too, are ceramic and iron. Rabbits abound in the high desert, but many people in the area have little contact with real creatures in their daily life apart from their pets. The cardboard boxes reflect the fragility of our structures and how easily they can be torn away by rain, wind, fire and decay – and by the effects of global warming.

The theatre of action is below the horizon line. We’re forced to look down on the world nearest us and less clearly perceive the distant horizon.  From a spiritual viewpoint, the ‘interior’ space represents the physical world and the outer landscape symbolizes the spiritual worlds beyond. The walls have dissolved and we see the two worlds as one – existing in one space. Their relationship has become visible. It is a metaphor, which, as described in the Baha’i Writings, is similar to the baby in the mother’s womb who is only aware of this world once it is born into it.

This is the kind of stuff I think about when I paint. For me, painting can serve as a means of contemplation as I play with symbolism and discover metaphor in the work.

And also I just really like plants and bunnies.

This is one of the paintings in my upcoming solo show at the Gallery at Big Picture which opens (tomorrow!) on October 7, with a reception on ramble night from 5 – 7 pm.  The show runs through October. The gallery is located at 311 N Main st. in Las Cruces.  575-647-0508.  If you are in the area, please do come out. It will be a splendid bash.