Denying darkness

“Threshold,” 8″ x 10″ watercolor, $200.

There is no light without darkness.

Visual artists like myself accept this easily as it applies to our work. Light and dark pair and mix and layer to create an experience that eventually renders and is received as the whole picture.

The absence of either in the whole picture is but an illusion. That one may dominate the surface image does not deny the existence of the other.

This is true in art, and in all of reality.

And yet.

Who among us doesn’t desire to be associated with light versus dark? Who does not prefer to be seen in good light? Who does not go about the business of work and relationships avoiding the aspects perceived by our tribe as belonging to the dark side?

On the surface, this seems like it should yield positive results.

But, therein lies the problem.

It’s only taking place on the surface.

We live in times where we are encouraged and rewarded to seek the light out there at the expense of the light in here.

Conditioned to avoid seeing deeply, we swipe quickly over endless surface images chasing the light that leaves us wanting more of what is actually separating us from each other and causing harm to the planet that sustains us.

This does not take away the darkness, but demonizes it.

Might we gradually befriend the darkness that we deny? Might we gently enter the slow, the deep, the unknown places we’ve been avoiding?

There is a wholeness waiting to be reconciled in this action.

We are more than we can ever know or comprehend.

There is no light without darkness.

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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