Stubborn Hope

February 9, 2017

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? Empowering? Thrilling? But what about when hope comes crashing down - when we have to abandon what we had clutched so tightly?

This bitter taste shows another side of hope's power - its ability to shake us. Through this series I considered my own memories with hope: Anxiety when things took an unexpected turn. Pain when relationships cut deeply. Impatience when results were slow to appear.

Hope has never felt stronger - and on the same hand, frightening - than in the last 6 months beginning 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 hurts. 

The last 6 months have been a constant hope, best defined by Bon Jovi as “Livin’ on a Prayer,” or maybe Beyonce’s words in Countdown, “There's ups and down in this…
Got a lot to learn in this…” Day after day I arrive at my studio, pick up my brush and stand in front of the canvas, wondering how to start. Sometimes I paint all week and don’t want to keep any of the work in the end. Proposals are sent out, and sometimes responses don’t come. I get some sort of feeling in my stomach every time I set up my easel on the side of the road. I’m not sure what the feeling is exactly - an out-of-comfort-zone distractibility maybe - and it doesn’t go away until I pack up and head home.

Some moments I feel really stuck - like when a show looms ahead, a creative dry spell hits, or a project falls through.

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. 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"

I began to think about those mornings in the studio. Hope had reflections of fear, yes, but it was doing something really powerful. It was igniting action like a tiny spark, and I started to think of the vibrant traffic lights in the gloomy, January grey city of Indianapolis as reminders of hope piercing through doubt.

"Spark"

"Spark"

Hope carries quite a punch. 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"

"Night Blues"

"Morning Heartbeat"

"Morning Heartbeat"

"Unprecedented"

"Unprecedented"

"The Next Thing"

"The Next Thing"

"Doubt, Meet Dream"

"Doubt, Meet Dream"

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

"Insomnia Excitement" 8 x 10 inches

"Insomnia Excitement" 8 x 10 inches

"Resilience"

"Resilience"

The final element to the "Stubborn Hope" collection is a 7-diptych piece - a reflection on the simple, repetitive process of living each week.

"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 to everyone who came out to the show!

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