Kathleen Marie Garness

Hands #3 (May 2020)
graphite on 100% cotton rag paper
14 x 11 in.

“Two hands: interlinked, intimate, but not touching. Electricity passing between. The hand on the right looks older, careworn, from tireless labor caring for family and community. The hand on the left, sturdy, practical, involved, reaches out, tentatively. The space between is full of tension.

Native Jack-in-the-pulpit and great white trillium below add a layer of personal symbolism. Trilliums, with their three petals and three leaf-like bracts below the flowers, remind us of the three aspects of the person that need care: mind, body, soul. Trilliums are also called ‘birthroot’, and are said to have healing powers. Jack-in-the-pulpit is a toxic plant but also symbolizes ‘shelter.’ Even in these times of ‘sheltering in place’ with a toxic virus threatening our common life, unable to safely exchange the tenderest touch, our need for touch finds creative and nurturing outlets. But also implicit here is the tension and fear of having our elders shut away from us, not knowing whether we will ever be able to touch them, hold their hands again. So we wait and hope for the best.”

artist’s website

© Kathleen Marie Garness