On the eve of Open Studios (tomorrow and Sunday! 11am-5pm!), I’m thinking about my work that’s hanging in my studio and what all the connecting threads are from one series to another. With that in mind, here is the statement that I wrote for a recent show:
What do babies and barns have in common? They both spring forth from the same set of ideas for me: “elemental” in both meanings of the word: 1) primary or basic; 2) related to or embodying the powers of nature.
The barn is in Iceland, a land that truly embodies the powers of nature. The sky and land there slam together at an insistent horizon line, rendering human structures fragile and insignificant. When I’m in Iceland, I feel the growth and formation underfoot; Iceland is a baby in geologic terms. If I could live a millennium, I could see what it is becoming.
That baby is growing too, just about bursting out of its cage, embodying its own true nature. The cage, like the barn, may provide a degree of protection, but the structures are ultimately ineffectual. Though it’s a wee baby, it’s the opposite of fragile and insignificant—in fact, it’s full of potential and larger than life. The baby is the landscape, and the landscape is the baby. — Barbara Downs
And that said, please visit me this weekend and see the babies and barns.