Stubborn Hope

 A quiet moment in the gallery. Photo taken by photographer/videographer Rachael Luther (http://rlutherphotography.weebly.com)

A quiet moment in the gallery. Photo taken by photographer/videographer Rachael Luther (http://rlutherphotography.weebly.com)

What does hope taste like? In its beginning, sweet and refreshing. It gives us energy - so much energy in fact that history shows whole systems shaken by it. But what about when hope comes crashing down - when reality commands us to abandon what we had clutched so tightly?

This bitter taste shows another side of hope's power - its ability to shake us as well as our surroundings. Through this series I considered my own memories with hope: Pain when relationships broke and cut deeply. Shame when others saw my excited expectancy met with complete shutdown. Foolishness for thinking something was possible when it wasn't.

These memories have never been sharper over the last 6 months as I've pursued a full-time art career. "Don't get your hopes up," we say, because we know high hope is a far way to fall. And falling makes us ache. 

The last 6 months have been a constant ache. Day after day I arrive at my studio, pick up my brush and hope the work is intelligent, that it matters, that it will impact the viewer meaningfully, and that I'll be able to make enough, price it wisely, and market it aggressively and tactfully.

Most days this has seemed like a heavy burden to carry. I was driving home from my studio one night thinking about this scary, beautiful, powerful idea of "hope" when I spotted a street light towering above, glowing through the fog. Quickly, I took a photo from my car window as cars honked behind. (Sorry, Indianapolis drivers. SLOW DOWN FOR ART OK? just kidding.) The next morning it became the painting that would inform the series "Stubborn Hope."

 "High Hope with a Fear of Heights"

"High Hope with a Fear of Heights"

Fear. Is that all hope is? I began to think about those mornings in the studio. Hope felt like fear, yes, but it was doing something really powerful. It was igniting action. It was a tiny spark, and lo and behold, the gloomy, January grey city of Indianapolis was full of it:

 "Spark"

"Spark"

Hope carries quite a punch. It repeatedly floods the grey monotony with color like a traffic light. In one moment it flashes florescent green and invites us to lurch forward and press deeper into our goals and in the next it screams red and stops us in our tracks.

 "GO"

"GO"

 "Night Blues" (or a rejected art proposal, a flat tire, a big bill, hurt feelings, kick in the gut, lost friendship, YA FEEL?) 

"Night Blues" (or a rejected art proposal, a flat tire, a big bill, hurt feelings, kick in the gut, lost friendship, YA FEEL?) 

 "Morning Heartbeat" ...taken while stopped in traffic :)

"Morning Heartbeat" ...taken while stopped in traffic :)

 "Unprecedented" (Defined: Adjective - "Never done or known before.")

"Unprecedented" (Defined: Adjective - "Never done or known before.")

 "The Next Thing"

"The Next Thing"

 "Doubt, Meet Dream" 14 x 16 inches

"Doubt, Meet Dream" 14 x 16 inches

At its most vulnerable, is hope a deep longing? What if vulnerable desire replaced a wall of ambivalence in our relationships? What if hope has the power to not only ignite our actions in life but our relationships as well?

 "Longing" 8 x 10 inches

"Longing" 8 x 10 inches

Hope in its glorious beauty, the kind that we have to remember and come back to when we are momentarily crushed by disappointment, is excitement so intense you can't fall asleep at night: an idea that seems AMAZING. And yes, you WILL awake with a fire in your soul that can't be stopped, even if that idea doesn't work out.

 "Insomnia Excitement" 8 x 10 inches

"Insomnia Excitement" 8 x 10 inches

 "Wisdom as Mobile Anxiety" 8 x 10 inches

"Wisdom as Mobile Anxiety" 8 x 10 inches

 "Resilience" 8 x 10 inches

"Resilience" 8 x 10 inches

The final element to the "Stubborn Hope" collection is a 7-diptych piece - a reflection on the simple, repetitive process of living each week. Undoubtedly, in both its glory and pain, hope is stubbornly anchored in our souls as long as we are alive, and yet, ironically, we must stubbornly return to it day in and day out.

 "Day In" 7 x 7 inches

"Day In" 7 x 7 inches

 "Day Out" 7 x 7 inches

"Day Out" 7 x 7 inches

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who came out to the show!