Held Knowledge

Held Knowledge

Bridgette Guerzon Mills | Held Knowledge, encaustic mixed media, 12×24 inches

Trees have always appeared in my artwork, even if you go all they way back to my first linocut print I made in 6th grade! Through the years I have thought of trees as a metaphor for a self portrait of sorts, often solitary, drawing strength from the earth. But as I have gotten older and also through some of my bigger environmental art installations, my thoughts are changing about trees. That trees are not solitary beings, but rather collective living beings. A tree is not just connected to other trees, but also to the lives of other plants and animals as well as to the health of our planet. Old pillars of a knowledge and a connection that we cannot even comprehend. The years they live are far beyond our years and I can only imagine the stories they hold.

Lately I have been reading Linda Hogan’s writings that really speaks to me and I want to share this:

I’ve found, too, that the ancient intellectual traditions are not merely about belief, as some would say. Belief is not a strong enough word. They are more than that: They are part of lived experience, the on-going experience of people rooted in centuries-old knowledge that is held deep and strong, knowledge about the natural laws of Earth, from the beginning of creation, and the magnificent terrestrial intelligence still at work, an intelligence now newly called ecology by the Western science that tells us what our oldest tribal stories maintain–the human animal is a relatively new creation here; animal and plant presences were here before us; and we are truly the younger sisters and brothers of the other animal species, not quite as well developed as we thought we were. It is through our relationships with animals and plants that we maintain a way of living, a cultural ethics shaped from an ancient understanding of the world, and this is remembered in stories that are the deepest reflections of our shared lives on Earth.
(from her essay “First People”)”
― Linda Hogan, Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals

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