All original images and text are copyright 2008-2018 Liz Sweibel

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A  weekend I thought would be in the studio and in the company of friends has become mired in a despair that has more layers than I can sort through while in it.  I am in a coffee shop, chased from home by the grinding noise of a garbage truck emptying the contents of my building's basement apartment, occupied until yesterday by our ex-superintendent and now abandoned.

He hoarded and also left behind a dog, two cats, and six kittens, roaming the basement hall.  I dealt with animal patrol in tears.  One Board colleague seems surprised and perhaps put off by how emotional I am about this.  I am reminded of my father labeling me "hypersensitive," and a therapist asking me what that even meant and I didn't know.  I still don't, but still feel vulnerable to criticism that I "feel too much."  In the meantime, I am paralyzed to do anything other than sort and re-sort my upset about how a human being can come to the place this man did and what will happen to him and his animals and how to ward off feeling criticized, patronized, and self-conscious for having and showing emotion about it.

Abandoned Belongings

During the semesters I pine and struggle for time.  When I have it, I do battle with myself.  I'm working at home for a couple of weeks.  (Heather is in heavy-duty gluing mode preparing for Crush at MOCA Jacksonville.)  I kind of welcomed it - thinking it might make things easier right now - but the first day reminded me why I have - and love - my studio.  Extreme measures must be taken against cats, for one, and damage happens anyway.  How is it cats always know where you don't want them to go and go straight there?

It's a roller-coaster - my moods, energy, ability to focus, entire life view.  I returned to meditation; it's brutal to get it going again.  I want what it does for me but don't want to do it; my distaste for that attitude is often what gets me to sit.  I'm running pretty consistently, so that's good.

The September installation is the primary studio focus:  research, writing, collapse, nap, breakthrough, relief.  And repeat.  Yesterday's breakthrough is below.  It literally took all day.  Even as I know that I needed the day to produce it, exactly as the day went, I keep myself on the hook.  Could I be any whinier?

Wood, paint
1" x 1/8" x less than 1/8"

My formal starting point, along with the wood sculptures, is the gallery floor.  In researching the building and its times, a network of historical reference points - personal, cultural, and architectural - is taking shape.  I have some understanding of the personal content, less understanding elsewhere.  I can feel how this work can - and needs to be - multidirectional and layered but can't yet articulate it.

NURTUREart Gallery Floor