The Fringe – a story by Janine Browne

Several blogs ago I posted about a drypoint print I made called My Secret is Out and Janine Browne has written a beautiful piece responding to my work. Every person who looks at an artwork takes their own experience to it, seeing from a different angle. Janine’s insightful writing is an example of this and I really enjoyed reading her interpretation of my work, she actually wrote two pieces which are both below. Janine  has made some beautiful drypoint prints herself and is also book maker whose artwork and books have helped many overcome life’s difficulties, a link to her blog “The Black Dog Project is at the bottom of the page. Her second story called “The Fringe” is my favourite.

‘Coming Home’.

Shana’s art titled, ’My Secret is Out’, for me personally strongly reflects the struggle of ‘fitting in’, of feeling like an outsider, but also the comfort and content of being alone with

"My Sectret is Out" original drypoint print by Shana James
“My Sectret is Out” original drypoint print by Shana James

one’s self – in your own space and world.

People on the ‘outside’ are often viewed, as is their existence there, as inferior, less significant—small.  But this image reinforces for me the relevance (and beauty) of that space. Small and undefined as it may be, it exists, it’s relevant—as are those who dwell within it.

The image also gives rise to the notion that perhaps being an outsider has its own power.  Perhaps there are benefits to living ‘in-between’ worlds—or within a world of your own.  A place from which to quietly observe and reflect on the darkness and then to the bright offerings—and their trappings and confinements.  An advantaged place where you become the watcher—not the one being watched.  A neutral space where the pull of ins and outs, ups and downs dissipates, the loudness quietens—the scream subsides.

And then, when I trace the glow of aura around the cage up through the bird, it feels like there is a lid to this space for leaving and  returning home again.  There’s a great comfort in the movement—the comings and goings.  A place where you are no longer stuck.  You are nestled snugly in your own world.  Your own space.  Your own self.

And this story called, ‘The Fringe’…

Within the aura that surrounds the cage, ‘My Secret is Out’ seems to offer an ‘in-between’.  A visual divide between worlds.  A ‘barely there’ space that exists so temptingly between the spotlight, which can feel cage-like—and the darkness, which can be all consuming.  Both of these spaces, these worlds, strongly influence who we are and how we feel. To be able to escape them, in ‘the fringe’, is deeply consoling.

‘The fringe’ with its lack of definition, makes me wonder if we really need to construct such clearly defined spaces (or zones of safety) within which to be ourselves, live our lives and feel a sense of place.

‘The fringe’, although it seems to have movement, isn’t straining towards the temptations

Detail from "My secret is Out" drypoint by Shana James
Detail from “My secret is Out” drypoint by Shana James

of the highly illuminated world (its trappings and traps), nor is it pushing back hard against the darkness.  It is its simple existence, between spotlight and darkness, that seems to offer an infinite sense of potential.  A realm for drawing from all that surrounds us perhaps, while maintaining an  individual presence.   A place to move and grow in unspecified and unconstructed directions to unexpected, unknown places.  A strong sense of space and place.

The ‘glow’ of the fringe, feels like a power source within itself.  A current of potential, and provider of energy to harness, hold onto and grow it.

The bird seems to also have a place within ’the fringe’, and its presence here seems to be offering a pathway, via its aura, perhaps to another existence— beyond what we see, and know and can ever imagine.

And when you look into the bird’s human eye, your mind opens wider too, and you wonder if it’s symbolic of its own evolutionary journey from the mergence (or clash) of worlds.  Its escape.  And you imagine it’s perched to take your secrets under wing – loosening their grip.  With the release of the secret and the halt of the whisper, hope rises.  Your mind opens to another world, another way—and the bird invites you to travel ….

See more of the Black Dog Project click here

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