Time/Space

Reading about physics, even ‘popular’ physics books recommended by poets, is a disciplined slog for me. What intrigued me, if I understood anything correctly, is that the immutable laws of time, space, velocity, and gravity are more flexible the the nature of ‘immutable’ suggests. Time, for instance, goes faster closer to the earth where the pull of gravity is greatest. Also, individuals, moving independently of each other, will not agree on their perceptions and measurements of space and time. There is something less fixed in the running of the universe. It is in this wee space of flexibility that my imagination lives and from which these paintings stem.

I relied, much more heavily than usual, on an intuitive process. There are physical and photographic resources to be sure, but more often I employed imaginative memory. the sky paintings, Transition and the Street Lights paintings 1-3, are a case in point. I absorbed visual information walking in the evening. Observations for Street Lights #4, I should add, were made while driving. The sky is space and time in every sense: it is the gateway to outer space — we see very old light coming from the stars; it envelopes the whole earth so that what we see now, someone else has already seen; it daily performs light/dark and dark/light transitions.

Battle River Gravity, Central Standard Time and Time Immemorial are sky and earth paintings. The space we traverse (and manipulate) is more often on the earth than in the sky. The earth is invested with history; it holds the record of changes since the beginning of time. It is invested with hope; what can we make of this place? It is from a person’s vantage point on the land, in my case on the prairie, that one converses with the sky. It is at the convergence of land and sky where the stretch of visual truth makes the impossible appear.

The Time/Space: Italy, Spain, Prairie, Alberta, Edmonton, Camrose paintings are completely based on earth, though not entirely bound by it. These paintings all include, building from the bottom layer up, the following: 1) part of a map, 2) road extensions (not based on reality), 3) a clock face, 4) a colour wash, 5) a knit print, 6) and object which loosely represents its location (pastry, tile, tractor, doughnut, book, and leaves), 7) a theme-related print (pasta, jewel, urban buildings, gears, cars and lefse) and 8) a shadow.

Finally, the Chicken Clock paintings, silly as they are, sprang from ‘time phrases’ and a small pink chicken clock.

Rhonda Harder Epp
2008