Bless and Release
Growing up in a rural, Southern Baptist community, Bible stories were largely influential in my formative years. In the Genesis narrative, Jacob spent the night alone on a riverside. In the wee hours, he encounters a “man” who proceeds to wrestle with him until daybreak. In the end, Jacob is given the name “Isreal” and blessed, while the “man” refuses to give his own name. Jacob then names the place where they wrestled Penuel which means “facing God.”
Who was this mysterious visitor? A dream figure, a protective river-spirit (like Achilles and Scamander), an angel? I symbolically use this myth to explore identity and mental health struggles. Watery places represent the murky realms of the unconscious. Depression can often feel exhausting, like wrestling a much stronger being. My friend Missy shared with me a mantra, “Bless and Release”, for dealing with difficult experiences. Sometimes it feels easier to lean into negativity due to its familiarity. Art is a therapeutic way for me to process difficult experiences and work towards releasing them with gentleness and forgiveness.
Fine art giclée on Hahnemühle German Etching (310gsm).