charis-profile-imageRebecca Solnit writes, “Blue is the color of longing for the distances you never arrive in, for the blue world.” To the eye, the horizon appears in blues and purples. Yet, the effort to reach it is a failing one. Upon “arriving”, the sky and earth collide even further out in those same shades. Feelings of longing and loss seem inextricably linked within the blue of distance.

It is this tension between longing and loss that my work is concerned with. My paintings and fiber drawings are efforts to preserve a small fragment of the horizons I hold within my memories. Memories are as elusive as the horizon—they shift, blend, and fade into one another with little warning. Each of the Fragments depict a particular set of feelings taken from a moment of travel down I-44 W. The paintings are the fragmented transference of the accumulation of remembered places into physical material. Dripping the paint signifies a release of control. Memories, particularly those of places and our shifting encounters with them, are often fluid and intertwined.

The Remembered Place series is an exploration of fiber as delineator. Using the fibers to outline, map, and connect the rolling hills and trails, I gain a haptic knowledge of these places. When viewing the drawings from different angles, various pieces of the weaving are concealed and revealed through the weft. Fiber itself is often linked with the domestic effort to save and preserve. Quilting, femmage, embroidery, and scrapbooking are all traditionally woman-assigned methods of storing memories with fiber. Through tying, knotting, and weaving these various threads together, I am attempting to secure these delineations of my remembered landscapes within the frame. The desire to own, to touch, and to contain these memories is ultimately futile. Yet it is this futility that allows my work to remain within the realm of longing.

–Charis Schneider Norell


*Solnit, Rebecca. “The Blue of Distance.” In A Field Guide to Getting Lost. New York: The Penguin Group, 2005. 30.