I Can See Clearly Now: An Opaque Post About Loss

I recently lost something dear to me. The loss didn’t come with a sudden absence; physical proximity remains unchanged. Instead, in an instant, years of ambiguity crystallized.  As the only visitor in the group, I was afforded an outsider’s view and unwittingly, I glimpsed a monster.  I recognized what it was immediately, even as it carried on, hiding in plain sight.  In that momentary burst, I caught sight of the massive thing sulking in the shadows, feigning self righteous indignation and crying out, “Poor me!”  It turns out the monster has been hiding there all along.

I’ve come to realize that blind loyalty to the hope of what could be is all that accounts for the sweetness I felt for so many years. But this possibility never materialized even in the shape of a small gesture from the other side, and so I must face the sadder realization that nothing has truly been lost. I’ve had to confess my own naivety at believing that it ever really was possible.  At least for a short while, the loss of hope on this matter as a whole will burrow through the optimistic part of my heart like a tiny mole.

But I am an optimist and this too will pass. Thankfully, something can be learned from these things.
New Orleans by MJJ, 2011

We Have No Heads, New Orleans by Molly Jarboe, 2011

(please imagine Bob Marley’s verson of “I Can See Clearly Now…” as a score to this post)

About my new project, Tangled

It’s been a while since my last post and the main reason for this is that I’ve been busy making new work.  This is a good thing, so I’m not feeling too terribly bad about falling behind on my blogs.  But it’s about time for an update, so I thought I’d share some of the work.

My new photo project is entitled Tangled and it’s now up as part of a two person show with Maria Pabico LaRodonda at Studio Hart in Buffalo.  Here are three images from the project followed by my artist statement.  I’m really excited about the new work and It’s already expanding in new directions.  I’ll have a solo show in October at The Backroom @ Hardware too.  More news to follow…

See more images from Tangled and other projects at mollyjarboe.com

Tangled is set in wooded areas where the natural landscape is photographed, then digitally altered.  Fantastically lit thickets and felled branches serve as backdrops to a cast of characters that seem to possess clues to secrets existing just beyond view.  No specific story line is spelled out, leaving the viewer free to wonder about and imagine a narrative of his or her own.

For me as the artist, Tangled represents the most recent chapter in an obsessive retelling of a story from my past about a child who has lost her favorite toy.  She imagines the toy has come to life and she longs to go out into the world in search of it. Tangled gets its inspiration from various children’s books and fairy tales, and seeks to awaken in its viewer the kind of unquestioning sense of adventure that can thrive in the imaginations of children.

Across my body of work I consistently explore themes of loss, memory, imagination and dreams.  Photography can freeze and eternalize what would be fleeting moments in time, but there is no mechanism for this in dreams. We rely on memory.  The moments and scenes represented in my work exist in a mysterious space somewhere between the real and the imagined.  There is no way to photograph dreams.

MJ