Motherland is a 90” x 90” hand embroidery on Belgian linen that evolved from a growing body of vision drawings, small gouache and graphite compositions I sketch intuitively after meditation as part of a continuing venture to reconcile my ontological position.
Motherland functions as a work of art, a ritual textile, and in its creation stages, a therapeutic process and a meditative discipline. The piece raises and addresses questions about how humans can both participate in expanded reality and consciously engage sustainable living practices. Its landscape links macrocosm and microcosm by simultaneously mapping a symbolic cosmology and the human chakra system. Its narrative articulates the universal condition of birth and death as a cycle of dynamic interrelation, which acknowledges humans as one element in an complex network that ultimately we cannot dominate.
Find yourself in a landscape. On one side of you are the mountains; on the other, a flat prairie forested with birches that look in every direction with their thousand eyes. They point out no particular path, but guard all. The trees safely enclose an aging marker, made of greying wood. You can't be sure, but you have a feeling. It locates a grave. You assume the dark trail you stand on leads inward, back to some distant horizon, but there is no horizon, there is no back into. Everything comes to meet you where you already are. This is the only part of the landscape you can see. Look in all directions with your other eye to find yourself in the exact centre of a much larger reality. Directly above you, the phenomenal world loses stability, becomes permeable, shifts in and out of focus: now a hexagram, now a cube, now a hexagram again. Which is the illusion? It is impossible to say. Above this, the sun burns his pure, gold, rational energy, illuminating all that is immediately available to be seen. Above the sun is the moon, suspended in a crescent that either waxes or wanes. She brings light of a different kind and distributes it generously, like a gentle rain from each of her apexes: down down down, onto the mountains, through the trees, into the ground and sinking, below the grass and fallen leaves, beneath the soil and clay and the underground stream, into a deep blackness, where something else is occurring. This something is not only a death. The human bones held in the inevitable grave decompose into a fine, shimmering powder. But the grave is not only a grave: it is a womb, generating all life. Its thick tap roots muscle down toward a subterranean pool of vital force you would not have thought possible, and they draw up nourishment. With this energy, the shining bone dust in the womb is rebirthed, and rises anew: now tiny caterpillars, now small cocoons, now the moths that carry the light of the sun and the moon on their wings back up to the surface, to replenish the cosmic forces that aided their creation, to continue the cycle. Above all of this, almost unnoticed but not forgotten, is the figure eight of infinity, witnessing all with its two unending eyes. The black trail you stand on in the centre of everything is actually an entrance into a meeting with yourself, in any direction. Whoever you are, whether you choose to accept the meeting or refuse it, the grave marker is inscribed with your name.