Moss, Rocks and Long Walks

Artist Statement by Taryn Walker

“There is an ancient conversation going on between mosses and rocks, poetry to be sure. About light and shadow and the drift of continents. This is what has been called the "dialect of moss on stone - an interface of immensity and minuteness, of past and present, softness and hardness, stillness and vibrancy, yin and yang.”

~ Robin Wall Kimmerer, Gathering Moss

This exhibition brings together works created over the past three and a half years. A journey of making that has taken me from the period of being a fresh BFA graduate, to pandemic creating in my living room, and then currently, to the beginning of my MFA studies. During this time there have been many beginnings, many presents, and many ends. And there will continue to be.

As we live out our lives on this planet we are in constant entanglement with past, present, and future. The moment we reach out for one we are simultaneously pulled closer and farther away. Closer…farther…closer…farther…a vibration. A ringing. An echo. A sonic memory speaking to us from elsewhere.

Who were we? Who are we? Where do we go from here? 

While this experience of time can feel disorientating and destabilizing at times, it offers us the constant and simple reminder that what matters most is right here in front of us. The present. The now. Our actions in this moment honor those who came before us and those who come after us, whether that be human relations, plants, animals, or even past and future versions of ourselves.

So how do we do good? How do we act with empathy, with solidarity, with respect, with purpose, with love? How can we momentarily grow roots in the present and ground ourselves in a way that we can consider all of these things?

There is no singular answer to these questions, however a good place to start is to listen. Sound implies time and listening implies presence. Listening is a generative reciprocal action that requires complete sensory attention from the listener to fully hear what is sounding. As soon as the listening occurs a relationship with the listener and the sound is built; a relationship of empathy. In this way, to be listened to, really listened to is to be loved.

In a similar sense, my drawing practice plays with ideas of time travel. Figures often appear to be in flux; hands, faces, feet all appearing in multiples as if suspended in parallel moments of time. In a both a literal and metaphorical sense another layer is added when these drawings are preserved in bee’s wax. Submerged in a dripping, sometimes liquid state, my visual language of personal iconography is (momentarily) preserved from time and the elements. Narratives on narratives, figures on figures, these drawings echo in their own way.

My recent explorations into sound, wax preservation, and multimedia installation seek to create moments of slowness and pause. These works are gentle reminders to tread lightly, talk gently, and listen often.

“My Ancestors are not the past. The spiritual world does not exist in some mystical realm. These forces and beings are right here beside me – inspiring, loving, and caring for me in each moment and compelling me to do the same. It is my responsibility with them and those yet unborn to continuously give birth to my Indigenous present.”

~ Leanne Betasamosake Simpson,
As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance