"Sanctuary" by Amy R. Peterson
"Sanctuary" is on exhibit at 201 Broad Street Selma, Alabama. Opening reception Thursday, October 21 5-7 p.m. Open to the public. Purchases available through Beverly McNeil Gallery.
20% of sales benefits Dallas County Family Resource Center, serving families in one of Alabama's poorest counties.
I began this body of work while staying at the Bridge Tender's House in Selma, Alabama, where the layers of paint and time on the walls and the scented pages of great books and biographies give glimpses into the lives of women and men, the likes of which this Earth may never see again. The legacies of Gee's Bend quilters, of Eudora Welty, the life of Charlie the Tin Man, and a conjuring up of my own ancestry.
Rather than standing at the easel, I found myself on the floor like a kid with cardboard and crayons… drawing lines and giving shape to a kind of art that's been inside of me for some time, but that I had never put to paper before. Maybe I feared it was too simple or unsophisticated, after decades of academic discipline. When it all did come out on paper and canvas, I learned more about myself and what shapes me than words alone could tell.
On the surface, these paintings are of women, and dogs, and pattern and domestic interiors. But it’s also a time travel through my roots. Family roots. The United States. Mexico. Scandinavia. Alabama. New Mexico. Earth. Texture. Color. Pattern. Ancestors. Mothers. Abuelas. Rituals. Dé·jà vu. And artistic roots, namely the Impressionists, Post-impressionists, and Les Nabis who transitioned impressionism to abstract art.
Sanctuary, in my Catholic tradition, brings to mind churches and temples. Interestingly, “religion” comes from religare which means ‘to bind’, like a ligament binds bones and joints. I think Sanctuary is any place you can feel safe enough for long enough to re-connect, restore, or bind some parts of you. That may be within the folds of a quilt or a familiar room, in the presence of a safe person, with a friendly dog, with a book, through a prayer, a song or in the making of a work of art.
This body of work called “Sanctuary” is a kind of black belt melting pot of images, stories, quilting, weaving, welding, unlearning, mending, and binding.
If you are purchasing from Selma and plan to pick up in person, please leave a note on your order indicating that you will be picking your painting up in Selma.