Re-membering Beauty

Trigger warning: This visionary project addresses rape culture and in particular situations of sexual assault that result in murder. Please practice self care in viewing the project, images and stories. This project is ongoing and I will be adding both images and stories to the permanent page tab as they manifest.

Also, I want to express my deep gratitude for each of you that has (and continues to) witness and support me and this project, you know who you are. BIG LOVE.


Re-membering Beauty is my visceral and creative response to the epidemic of rape culture, in particular to those we’ve lost in acts of sexual or domestic violence. It is the project that I have been steadily working on since the beginning months of my graduate program in 2014, after losing a dear student and friend in an act of sexual violence that rocked our small Mendocino community. Since its birth, each step of the project has moved me in profound ways. Although I have shown these pieces in multiple venues and presented them in academic talks, this is the first time I am posting them online. They want to be seen, and I would like to bring this project further out of the shadows as well.

So far I have created three portraits of women who were murdered and an interactive installation dedicated to my friend Kayla. Each piece speaks to individual grief and to the collective cultural propensity to keep sexual assault and domestic violence in the shadows. My intention is to give voice to the voiceless, specifically by listening deeply to the stories of those who have been murdered in acts of sexual violence, and then creating art that speaks to the beauty and light of those individuals. In affect, Re-membering their beauty, their spark and what our world has lost in keeping them only identified as “victim”. My work creates arenas for discourse, effectively breaking a silence that surrounds this difficult topic. We are, as a collective, numb and silent around this issue. This work has a potent message that touches the individuals who interact with it in profound and healing ways, as we see in the quote below from a participant in my first showing of the installation and portrait of Kayla …

“I am a public speaker and writer, my world is filled with words and they rarely fail me. This past November I had the honor of speaking at a San Francisco event called “Surviving and Thriving.” I walked into the space early to help set up and was immediately drawn to Dena’s portrait and moving installation. I found myself standing in the middle of the room staring at the portrait with tears flowing. I was left speechless. Both moved me to silence, for it was the first time ever I felt immediately connected to a person I did not know. It was the first time I felt completely seen and understood. Both the installation and the portrait spoke to me in such profound ways. It was as if they were created specifically so I had the privilege to interact with them.” Dr. Alissa R. Ackerman

The Installation

12339424_988096097924785_7385915573930259763_oThe installation. Surviving & Thriving, November 2015. San Francisco, Ca.

12314520_987740637960331_9178940286893588614_oStephanie and Shelley, founders of Surviving & Thriving, November 2015, San Francisco, Ca. “moving through the experience”

The Portraits

KaylaKayla’s Grace, Acrylic on canvas, 48″x 48″

 

IMG_4898Danna’s Light, Acrylic on canvas, 48″x 36″

 

IMG_7607Rosie’s Ascent, Acrylic on canvas, 48″x 30″

 

Re-membering Beauty:  Artist’s Statement

I am an artist who is dedicated to giving voice to the voiceless using art and story-collection, working specifically to symbolically tell the stories of women who have lost their lives in sexual assault or domestic violence situations. In affect, Re-membering their beauty, their spark and what our world has lost in keeping them only identified as victim. I am dedicated to moving forward to change the patterns that perpetuate violence against the feminine in all its forms. The courage and beauty I have witnessed over and over again when survivors of assault come together to speak loud and clear bring me great hope that together we can create the deep change that comes from being fully witnessed. Only then can our grief and rage be transformed into love and healing.

Stay tuned for more on this project

Thank you for witnessing

Fall Offerings and the Goddess of Creativity.

Its been an interesting Summer with lots of unexpected twists and turns. You’d think I’d be used to them by now but alas, I always think that somehow, this time, life will move along as I expect it to! I am currently adding some of my latest works to the gallery so check them out here!

A quick update: Three months ago I was offered a job with a like-minded company working with autistic individuals within my local community. Mystery seemed to be offering this to me as a means to support my family, my school loans and my community in an unexpected but not unaligned way, so I said yes. This past quarter has been a whirlwind of new learning for me and has challenged me to show up in ways I never anticipated. I could go on and on about the learning that is coming through this undertaking but what matters here for Owl Girl Art is it has become clear I need to carve out more time to be in the studio to stay in balance.

Also, there is much to be overwhelmed by in these trying times given the state of our world right now and the outcry of Mother Nature, which only strengthens my need to ground myself through creativity. It is my way to find strength and voice through the howling winds of these times. The best way for me to be accountable to the Goddess of Creativity is through sharing creative space with other light filled souls, so I am offering two Fall liminal collage days on September 30th and November 11th!.

See the attached flyers, and let me know if you have any questions or ?

Love and resilience,

Dena

Flyer September 30th, 2017Flyer November 11th, 2017

More Creativity! More Collage! Spring is here already!?

Hello Again!

As we speed toward Spring I am a bit in awe at how quickly the first months of the year has sped past. I realize I have not posted blogs on my more recent work, but will be putting them in the gallery soon. Our January workshop was so enlivening with an intimate group energy that filled me up in anticipation of 2017! Here is my completed collage from that workshop called Sight.

fullsizeoutput_2939

Many things have kept me on my toes these past few months including a minor surgery that went well, but still required more recovery time than I wanted to give it, and losing my beloved grandmother who I will continue to grieve forever. It has been a difficult time where family becomes front and center once more and each moment seems more precious than it did before.

In addition to my personal health and my family of origin needs, I started teaching a new class here in Ukiah at our local Junior College this semester and the workload for designing and executing a new class is tremendous. I know this but it always seems to catch me off guard regardless. I am teaching interpersonal communications and it has been a blast working with a group of stellar students exploring how important communication is to our connections and overall well-being and success in life.

The other big shift is my daughter’s new obsession with wrestling. It has been a whirlwind of Junior High school wrestling tournaments where she has become quite the warrior. As a parent of a 17 year old son who found his passion in theater, I never considered I would be navigating a sport like wrestling, but here we are! My daughter has always been quite the athlete but chose gymnastics and circus arts early on – I never anticipated her desire to learn grappling but again, here we are. Parenting is a forever unknown and often surprising path!  It has been a whirlwind of hard knocks and this mama has been on an emotional roller coaster watching her baby girl get tossed around, battered and bruised! Ouch on so many levels! Here she is with one of her many first place medals from the season! I am super proud of her and grateful for all the time(and growth) we have had together navigating this new adventure!img_8253.jpgBut Alas, the semester has found its rhythm and is now coming into its finale with student projects(which I love!) and I am recovered from my adrenal stress of wrestling spectator ship and really need to dive back into the art studio with other beautiful souls! Who is with me?!

Saturday April 22nd, lets spend Earth day exploring our inner psyche through liminal collage! This process is one that tickles the senses and allows both playfulness and deep inquiry. It is not necessarily about creating great art, although I believe great art is usually the result – one way or another. I guess my definition of art always, always involves the process so how one sees great is quite subjective.

Anyhow, see below flyer for more information and do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. Then, let me know if you are called to come be with your deepest self in a sacred container on earth day creating great art!

Love and Blessings,

Dena

Flyer April 22, 2017

Belated Gratitude – More Art – and a newly scheduled workshop January 7th, 2017!

So much gratitude for this perfect day, Saturday, November 5th, 2016 in my little art studio in Ukiah. It was an intimate group with a unique vibe which allowed for some truly potent and powerful unfolding. I witnessed so much authenticity and love drip through the paint and glue…it was truly an honor to hold space for this and allow my personal creative space to be filled with the collective magic.

I began my inquiry that day into a symbol of mountain lion that has been stalking me of late. She is potent and nocturnal, only seen when she chooses to be seen…they are often called “ghost cats”. This piece is called “Sensation” and it is indicative of my movement toward loving my own embodiment in a new and inclusive way. It is one more step in my individuation journey and the healing of the feminine – which in my thinking must come from each of us diving into our own exiled feminine and seeking healing. I feel the Earth urgently needs us to reconnect to the feminine in ourselves. Thus reconnected, we can heal that which has been broken by a culture which devalues the feminine to the extreme of violence.

image

This month, I have also finished my third and hopefully final draft of my thesis article exploring the role of the contemporary artist in modern times. It is an autoethnography that follows my story of individuation of the past couple of years, culminating with the grief around the loss of my friend in a violent act of rape. It explores how this experience has opened me to the desperate need for artists to take up the role of being the mouthpiece of our times, or as Martin Shaw says, the mediators between the seen and unseen worlds. For those of you who do not know, I have been painting portraits of women who have been murdered in acts of domestic or sexual violence. It is my aim to give them their beauty back…so that they can been seen fully in their exquisite uniqueness as opposed to just another victim. I will be bringing this project more public in the coming months while seeking to expand its message of love, healing and hope.

It feels imperative that we do not stay silent in these turbulent times.

In response to the election I also created another collage in an attempt to process my deeply visceral anger and feelings of betrayal. It was just completed yesterday and I am so grateful for this practice. It has helped me become more grounded and purposeful…in it I have found some beacons of light and continue to be drawn toward them. My fear and grief for my husbands family in Latvia and my ancestral connection to Ireland are here. Otherworld beings are seeping through the cracks and Hawk, who has forever been a guide to my power has taken center stage. There is much still being revealed here and it has not named itself…often that comes with time.

image-2

For me, these pieces often reveal themselves over time, and mean something unique to each person who engages with them. If you feel drawn to exploring your own creativity in this way please consider marking your calendar for another liminal collage workshop on Saturday, January 7th, 2017 in Ukiah. We will be exploring what is UP for us in the new year…I hope to bring in some new awareness and grounding so that we can step out into the world in fresh and powerful ways. As always, feel free to pass it along and let me know if you have any questions.

Create. Peace. Love.

Dena

flyer-january-7th-2017

Liminal Collage November 5th, 2016

 

Come play in my Ukiah studio on November 5th, from 10-4.

We will be exploring the transition from light to dark as mirrored in our beautiful Fall season. This day long class is set in a circle format and invites internal images to reveal themselves throughout the creative process. Each participant brings their unique intention and has opportunities to share whatever aspects they would like within the circle. I have witnessed profound aha’s happen in every class-yep, every class and it is so amazing to see consciousness expand through the creative process. Please consider joining us for a day of creativity, expansion and connection!

Blessings,

Dena

flyer-november-5th-2016

Liminal Collage Saturday September 24th!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending a depth filled day with seven lovely souls creating phenomenal art! It was an inspiring day filled with beautiful story and even a lovely birthday celebration(complete with not only one awesome cake, but two! YUM) I am always so inspired by what unfolds when we are willing to show up authentically to our creativity. It was truly an honor and gift to be with you all! Thank you!

It has taken me over a week to finally finish my piece which was about exploring a symbol which has been surfacing for me in my inner work for the past few months, the lighthouse. It has been a tough one to finish with lots of layers, chaos and confusion. The words that revealed were, “Be Real” so that is the title of this piece. Curious to see how the consciousness continues to unfold around this work. Here it is:

Image

I am addicted to this process and will continue to offer a class once a month so the next day is Saturday September 24th. See the flyer below and Sign up now!

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns, I look forward to creating with you soon!

Blessings, Dena

 

Flyer September 24, 2016

 

Liminal Collage Class in Ukiah, Saturday August 27th!

Please come join us for a day of creativity and exploration! Liminal Collage is a unique creative process that requires no artistic experience or “talent”, just a desire to create and explore. We will gather together in the studio and see what mysteries unfold both individually and collectively. Please let me know if you have any questions. Call or email now to reserve your spot!

Blessings, Dena

Flyer August 27, 2016

Liminal Collage Class July 30th, 2016!

Here is reminder to some and an invitation to others that I will be hosting a collage class on July 30th at my studio in Ukiah from 10-4. Come play in the studio with me. These classes are always such a delightful and insightful way to spend a Saturday.

Last month I explored the great mother archetype in me(unexpectedly…which happens to me a lot when I allow it!) and this is the piece I created.

Image

This month, I would love to see what YOU create! Reserve your spot soon if you are planning to attend. Please see the below flyer and let me know if you have any questions.

Also I am offering one on one Creative explorations or special group classes for 4-8 persons, please contact me directly for more information if you are interested. I teach many different art techniques and would be honored to work with you to design a class or personal session that resonates or explores your unique process and works within your schedule too!

Many Blessings,
Dena

Flyer July 30, 2016

Liminal Art class June 25th!

I’m almost done with my graduate program and starting to come up for air! Yay! I will blog about my final presentation, article and amazing art that has come through that process soon.

But for now, I would like to offer a more regular liminal art collage class in Ukiah! Let’s start Saturday, June 25th and if there is enough interest I will offer one monthly.  Let me know if you have any questions and sign up today!

Many Blessings,

Dena

Flyer June 25, 2016