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Return to: Mary Ellen Long

Artist Statement


I live in a forest environment, which allows an intimate exploration into nature's process. As the seasons have passed, I have experienced changing ephemeral patterns both dramatic and subtle, and have performed my own personal rituals: I wrap fiber around aspen trees to capture their form and spirit, placing these castings in the re-emerging grove, the site of their life cycle; I form a circle of cones when drought brings an enormous pine cone fall...this circle becoming my prayer for moisture.

I find strength and message in these natural objects and sites in this mountain environment. My sculptural interventions using the indigenous and handmade paper create forms that speak of the slow process of nature...of growth, of decay and rebirth on the land, and of our interconnectedness to this integrity.

An interest in the spirit of the past has expanded to surrounding lands and more generally the grand landscape of the West. As I travel the West, I have been collecting sands in the tradition of the Native American medicine man gathering sands from sacred places for ritual healings. These sands, held in vessels cast from Native American baskets, embody mythic and environmental aspects of the American West, becoming metaphors for healings and transformation. Accompanying scrolls are documentary evidence of travels; images burned and sanded on handmade paper speaking of the mystery of prehistoric and nature's markings-language echoing from the past

My interest in creating installations that recall mythic image and empathize with the earth, grows from my need to connect with a primal consciousness - a consciousness that respects and coexists with the natural environment. My belief in the power of art itself to affect transformation encourages my continuing search and journey as an artist.

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