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  • Writer's pictureApril Gavin

The Far Shore

Begin, then begin again, stop, re-visit and then keep on beginning until the work is complete.

The Far Shore began as a monotype straight from the gelatin plate. I stopped working for the day and filed my prints away. Another thing called, maybe it was Scout needing a walk or time to cook supper. When I re-visited this particular print, I saw the idea of the single red flower on the far shore and so I began again. There is a peace here and a light in this landscape that feels attainable though I can't say when.

Some work begins, rests, and takes flight multiple times. Fishing at Dusk started as a photograph of a Brown Pelican near Pt. Reyes. I'm from the Atlantic coast where various pelican species are abundant including the brown. I was surprised to see this species on the Pacific coast. Turns out Brown Pelicans nest in the Gulf of Mexico and then migrate up both coasts of North America.

I rediscovered the photo years later and wanted to give her place and companionship in her nightly task. I'm unsure which iteration of the drawing this is, but I know I fussed over it and eventually filed it away dissatisfied with my skills. That was 2018.

I dug it out this November to re-study and found my lacking. I began again and feel better about this drawing and all it attempts to carry.

The impetus for these next two pieces began about ten years ago. I had asked friends and co-workers who were better traveled than I to donate any foreign currency they were willing to part with. Foreign currency and exchange rate have always fascinated me. The values and history of a nation appear on its currency. I was especially interested in currency that could not be exchanged outside its own borders and dead currencies that can no longer be traded. The response was great.

CAFTA is a weaving of a Guatemalan Quetzal and a Nicaraguan Cordoba. I chose to combine these two for some obvious reasons not the least of which is the contrast of the green and purple. The questions that come up for me are: what does free trade mean between currencies with disparate value? what does free trade mean between countries with disparate favoritism of a world power like the United States?

USD 1.39942 is a 5,000 shilling Ugandan bank note that I cut and added to. One of these exchanges for less than the price of a cup of coffee in the United States. My aim with both of these pieces is to highlight the use of materials and underline the inequity that I'm seeing. We all know inequity exists, but what's the purpose of all this un-equal-ness. If it's meant to define winners, then it's a sad and hollow win.

My best friend Lana lost her husband of fifty years in early December. Dennis was ill for a short time before succumbing to cancer. I wasn't especially close to Dennis. He was taciturn, inflexible in his world view, and hyper critical. He was also funny and irreverent. I remember many holiday dinners at their home where the entertainment was either a zombie movie or a samurai movie. Lana is taking things at her own speed right now and my only task is to respect her privacy and be present when she calls.

Work has been heavy. I woke up on Monday, January 3rd at 6am and hit the ground running. I will push through this avalanche of numbers the best I can.

Enjoy the return of the light.


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