Sandra Zeiset Richardson
8/2004 Artist Statement
Foster White, Seattle WA

Shadow- That which follows or attends a person or thing like a shadow; an inseparable companion.

Some people climb mountains, run marathons, or do extreme sports, pushing their bodies to the limit. Some people travel to distant lands, explore exotic places, figure out roles in new cultures, learn to understand different languages and decipher road and shop signs along the way. And to some, the mountain comes to them.

I have been learning to live with the increasing disability caused by multiple sclerosis. It has outgrown my hat.* Doing, even simple things, has become a time-consuming challenge i.e. picking up something that has dropped to the floor (a round object is particularly challenging), signing my name, opening a letter, etc. This body, am I locked in or out? I cock my head and try to understand the changing language. I try to stay on friendly terms but she can be so difficult at times. Whether the shadow is before or behind me, its shape, depends on which way I am turned and on the angle of the sun. I pull myself along this precipice, grasping one metaphor after another. When I look down, I am shocked to see how close the ground really is.

How to define a life when the boundaries keep moving? How to not feel pathetic or worry too much or feel too alone? How to practically do things, my work? How to allow other hands be my own, to trust, to communicate, to honestly grieve, to see humor, beauty, and hope, to catch a vision, to be grateful, for now?

The majority of the pieces in this show are inspired by and reflect my personal situation. It is my hope, as always, that they also reflect a shared and universal experience. Two of the pieces in this show, "The Leaving" and "Cradle of Civilization" are responses to war, particularly to the war in Iraq.

I am not alone. This show is poof of that. Janet Still has been my hands. Working together is a story, a statement, of its own. I am awed and honored and grateful for her willingness to enter into this process with me. Thank you also to Stan, my husband, my partner in this life that has taken us to unimagined places- for the touch of his mind, heart, and hands. And thank you, to the many, many friends who weave richness into our lives through their gifts and their presence, to Foster White Gallery, for the chance to show this work, to you, the viewer, for coming here, reading and looking, to God who is in each, and in the connection between.

* A volcano was born one afternoon in 1943, as a Tarascan Indian farmer, Dionisio Pulido, plowed his cornfield in central Mexico. He and other villagers, who came to help him, soon abandoned attempts to fill steamy holes and fissures with dirt. They evacuated the area after smoke and explosions became more violent. The cone of the volcano eventually grew to a height of nearly 1400 feet. The Volcano Paricutin erupted with lava flows 10 feet deep. It became dormant in 1952.

I remember reading about this in elementary school (probably the Weekly Reader). I am not sure of the origin of the image lodged in my memory, of the farmer putting his hat on a growing mound, if this was a product of my imagination or a silly illustration accompanying the article.

2004 Foster White Show | Home