September 2015

Featured Artist

Angela Bacon-Kidwell

Be Still They Will Rise

A Murmur of Wholeness

And the Eagle will Fly

A Quiet Echo

Home by Nightfall

Silence ceased for him in 2011
not a whisper, but a relentless roaring thunder
molding his spirit into mourning

In his misery, a new vaporous malice was brewing
the ringing was a warning
tinnitus and cancer were converging

Every known eradication was pursued
He and I, separated by many miles,
shared a need for solitude
cultivated by lucid country drives

We drove separately through the dark districts of our minds
invariably contemplating what was to come,
a symbiotic transitory landscape emerged
and the thunder soared in 2013

Questions, Answers, Questions, Answers
Questions, Answers, Questions, Answers
Questions, Answers, Questions, Answers
all tedious throbbing answers

How many miles in a life?
What shape is the color grey?
When does an echo become whole?

During the three years of relentless discord,
I created  images of these ambiguous queries
emoting, sensing, seeking

There is a truth in “big” questions with small answers
Clarity in the midst of chaos
Hope in the face of despair

Silence returned for him on May 24, 2014
He was my father

There is an unbreakable bond between a parent and child. Founded in love, created by blood, and maintained throughout the decades by connection of faith, whether together or apart. In Angela Bacon-Kidwell’s case, this is a connection forged between father and daughter. Supportive, nurturing, loving and giving, they were family. His death and her road to acceptance is the basis for Home By Nightfall.

The images aren’t memories, but a search for guidance, based in emotional and spiritual layers, seeking peace and comfort, grounding her after being set adrift by loss.

In a series created in three years time, after her father was diagnosed with cancer, and up until his death, it is the road where she looked for solace, meaning and peace. The work is powerful, moving, while at the same time heartbreaking and uplifting.

Home by Nightfall is filled with layers of physical and emotional ties that bind us together as family, community and humanity. Physical connections between earth and sky, of the road reaching up to meet us, the light, birds and her use of her son as a generational parallel allow us as viewers to join her in her search for surrender of grief and longing.

It is in Kidwell’s deeply rooted faith that this becomes the story of Father, Daughter and Holy Spirit. A constant theme of this body of work is the idea of a non-physical presence in the world that surrounds us. The idea of never walking alone in this case connects us in three ways, as if a personal Holy Trinity.  The Father, Daughter and the Holy Spirit that encompasses and surrounds Kidwell encourages her to move forward after the loss of her father.

Chronicling the passage of time, from that distinct moment that the words first uttered are unnerving, becoming white noise you can’t get out of your head, to the quiet silence of passing from one life to the next, the stages of grief are profound.

This is what Angela visually chronicles so well. These images define the grace that we exude under these circumstances so often beyond our grasp or understanding.

Snapshots fill our minds, ideas of what we should do, can do.

The image Morning Noise, blinding light, dust and a flock of birds showcase the disruption to a rural road, normally quiet. We have all had that moment where the din won’t stop, where clear thought is impossible.  In the blinding rays we have no compass, no north and no plan of how to move forward.

Quiet Echo moves us to the place of everyday. We wait, plodding through, knowing that any moment our life can change. It is almost as if walking dead.

Revival, the moment we think it may be ok after all. Treatment is working, stasis has come into being. Maybe this isn’t the nightmare we thought it was.

Morning Minus the Sun. A setback. Wait, this isn’t supposed to happen.  Plunged into darkness again. 

Revival, the moment we know we must come to a peace, even temporary. It is when the soul takes a breath. In this particular image the starlings swarm, lifting up, chasing the swirling dust. The constant now is change. 

In The Sun goes Down Alone, we see the moment when the physical becomes the spiritual.  Kidwell at her best, fusing the intangible with the visible manifestation of souls leaving our bodies, of the light leaving our eyes, hearts and the peace that settles over us as we realize this is all for the better now. There is no more suffering, no more pain.

For him, Pass into Silence quiets the dust, the noise, the pain.  Storm clouds are lifting, air is not as heavy, and the image is void of physical life. The presence of light, the constant in the images, is diffuse, seen without prevalence. 

For her father, no more pain, yet no resolution for us. Our grieving still continues.

Many of us have faith of some type, a belief in a higher power greater than ourselves. Be it God, Yahweh, Allah, Buddha, Vishnu or any other name, we are all look to find answers for guidance.  It is this faith that binds us to our surroundings, allowing us to have the strength to see more clearly, to turn down the din in our minds, to find solace, peace of mind. Our faith is the connection to the intangible emotional part of ourselves. To lift our faces into the light when we feel shrouded in darkness.  Faith gives us the power to move forward everyday in light of overwhelming and tragic circumstance. 

Angela’s creative vision helps all of us connect to an n emotional and visceral place. She helps us as her own growth and understanding comes at great emotional costs.

Dust becomes clouded thought, starlings as our synapses that fire, fluid in air, responsive, vibrating against each other in a cloud of community.

It is the light that becomes the most pervasive part of each image. The light that entices us, moves us forward, gives us strength, and illuminates our path as we trudge through our own darkness. The intensity of her light, of that highlighted moment between day and night, of mourning and release, of anguish and acceptance. It is also the precursor, the road that her father must take. Angela stands back, bathing in the glow, white hot searing into her soul.  As her connection moves from a physical to emotional place, the light plays the tether to her spiritual anguish and awakening.

As we see the duality and connection between body and spirit, earth and sky, individual and their faith, brilliantly laid out, we are led to Angela’s final image in the series, A Faithful Surrender.  Arms outstretched, Angela’s son opens his heart, allowing light and love to pulse through him. The understanding that the family will continue, that life has continuity, an intangible boundary between daylight and darkness, and the generational connection from father to daughter, mother to son.

In these images, we are not left with grief, but love and life.  This work should be a primer for those who search for answers in light of unspeakable pain, of acceptance and understanding.

— Crista Dix // Wall Space Gallery 

Angela Bacon-Kidwell: Profile