"Loss is a universal human experience," writes Karen Tye in the abstract describing her exhibition of art quilts she calls LANDSCAPES OF GRIEF. "Grief is a natural response to the losses in our lives. The experience of grief is filled with complex emotions, thoughts, feelings and behaviors. This experience is not exactly the same for all those who go through it. Each of us has our own unique pathway to follow and our own journey to take. This collection of art quilts reflect my own experience with grief and some of the insights and understandings that have come to me on the journey.
"My journey began in September of 2013 when my husband of almost 30 years, Brenton Dodge, died. While it was not a sudden death, it was still a deeply felt and profound loss. He had been my friend, partner and lover and steadfast companion for many years and his absence was deeply felt. Although I had experienced grief with the loss of my mother and father, with the ending of a previous marriage, with the failure of dreams that didn't come true, and with all the both small and large losses that are scattered throughout life, this loss and the grief that followed was deep. It was a depth beyond words.
"Yet I needed to express what was happening to me. I worked with a grief counselor during the months after Brent's death and I was encouraged to keep a journal of thoughts and feelings. I had been a sporadic writer in a journal over the years and the use of words had been helpful. So I began keeping a journal during this time. The words did help but were not enough. I found images coming to mind that helped to express in meaningful ways what I was feeling and thinking.
"While I have never considered myself to be an artist, I am a quilter and love working with fabric. As my journey with grief continued, the images forming in my mind sought expression in some way and they began to take shape in the form of an art quilt with fabric as my medium. Thus this series was born. In the three-and-a-half years since Brent's death, I have worked to bring to expression some of the key experiences and insights that dealing with grief and loss have brought to me. Landscapes of Grief is the culmination of that work.
"While this series does not reflect all of my experience and learnings, it does reflect what have become significant ones for me. I do not claim that these are universal insights and reflect everyone's journey. We each follow our own unique path. But I do hope that in some way the viewer of these quilts will come away with a new understanding of loss and fried that will enrich and help in their journey through life. I dedicate this exhibit to my beloved, Brenton Dodge, and to all he taught me bout life and about death and about life again."
LANDSCAPES OF GRIEF is currently being exhibited in the Gretchen Brigham Gallery at the Union Avenue Christian Church. The exhibit will remain on display through the season of Lent.