Paintings by Jolyn Fry
A series of large scale paintings created in relation to healing from post trauma dissociation.
Saturday, September 29th
6 – 9 PM
Journal entry…on painting 2015
Songs to myself…another chapter of work. All paintings in progress. All writing in progress. The end is nowhere in sight. The fundamental organ. Can’t separate the organ from the bone. There is no story. Color, line movement are all without thought..I find you in everything. I write to myself and I am writing to you. Now I feel hunger. I am your second half, third , and fourth. There is no whole.” six rivers the ocean…”my only hope is that if I keep creating looser, bigger, more, that the understanding will reveal itself without interpretation. My painting will become more real, more full for its lack of interpretation.
Songs for my child. Songs for myself is a body of work created during the last 15 years as a study of self. When I started these paintings and stretched the first large canvases I wasn’t cognizant of what there was to uncover. It’s been an unexpected journey. I knew I was lost and I understood wanting to use my painting practice to build a deeper relationship with self. But what I didn’t realize was how seperated I was from my actual body. Repeated rape, torture, and abuse experiences as a small child had really left me divorced from myself physically and emotionally.
My painting practice required hours of daily meditation in order to find the willingness to show up. Nausea and migraines became daily studio routines. I’ve laid on the floor and tried to surrender to the feelings of grief, pain and betrayal at least hundreds maybe a thousand times.
And I’m still not finished. I’ve done much of this on my own, and I’ve had help along the way. Talented therapists, acupuncturists, and body workers have patiently tried to help me untie these knots. Loving friends and family have reached out and supported me when possible.
I share this work and my process, because it’s important.
Everyday I struggle. Each of us does in their own way. I’m grateful for the time, space, and courage to find myself. And if sharing my process helps even just one other person in the way that it has helped me, then the pain of sharing this experience was worth it. Being alive is beautiful. Part of being a painter is knowing when to stop. There is always more to say, and there’s other paintings to be made.There is blank canvas there to hold my space. I think of these paintings as my pretty monsters. They aren’t about being raped. They’re essentially about who I’m becoming and what I experienced after, and some days in the best of moments, I hope my painting describes the peace of one single lovely instance of being alive.
Journal entry…on being a girl child 2018
Here the air is warm and thick. I walk around and feel like a fissure. A not there. I know at any moment someone could grab and press in to me. And the groups of people are always pressing.
-side note. To feel like a little girl is to be a walking vagina. To be pressed into. Grabbed at any moment and taken. But maybe that would be ok if I could be warm and loved. Not locked in this cold cellar feeling less than. Crumby, not clean, in dirty clothes and worn out shoes, and at least today I have my clothes. Even my bones are cracked because of this stupidness. The shame of knowing that I’m less than. Especially in my vagina…which is no longer the same…and despite my constitutional quiet. Everyone will know and see that something was very wrong. Not with what happened to me. But with who I truly am.
Jolyn Fry was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She graduated with honors from Pennsylvania School of Art and Design in 1996. Since moving to Portland, Oregon, the following year, she has exhibited her continually evolving body of work in many group and solo shows. Whether depicting literal, physical landscapes or abstractions of a more personal, emotional nature, Jolyn says, ‘Surrendering to my artistic process grants me the kindest perspective of myself and the life that moves around me.’ Jolyn is a mother, maker, teacher who works as an Art Educator at Radius Community Art Studio in SE Portland.
On the day I was raped I was not alone. I became one with my sisters, my ancestors. I became nothing and whole at the same time. I became hate. In losing myself I became something I never was before. In losing myself in surrendering I became hate, I became animal, I became sex and rage in my very vulnerability I became humane. I was a child human. Human. Small and insignificant. And it wasn’t until today that I knew as I paint these paintings these pieces of myself, of women, these stories they become me and they become above and below and around me. It was yesterday that I was so sm…small so insignificant. as I am today, but I am all of these things at once small and big. Pain and joy. And I live. I will live. Everything up until this moment has been past. An unfathomable past and I live as life is meant to be for today for a moment with utter knowingness, and a trust that I have never understood before and today becomes a day just like any other day in any other lifetime and that is what makes me rise and fall. That is why I breathe and laugh and cry because of the insignificance of it all.