Barry Roal Carlsen
If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are. –Wendell Berry
I was recently invited to visit Norway. It was my first visit to the country I claim as my heritage. I have used it over my life to shape my identity. Being adopted has always left me with a lot of questions about how the self is formed. My adopted parents and family have shaped the person I have become. My personal narrative is totally created by the people I’m connected with by fortunate chance. In visiting Norway, I hoped to better understand those connections through experiencing the place where my father’s family came from, an adopted history in an adopted land.
In a broader sense, I want to convey the physical and psychological impact the landscape has in shaping people. A sense of place is powerful; it can express the feelings of belonging, separation, distance, and loss. Can the landscape be the physical embodiment of an idea or concept, a personification? I believe so.
Landscape as avatar.
Recent changes have brought an expanded approach and handling of materials to the work. Formal training in printmaking and a long professional involvement in the graphic arts are being acknowledged. Painted works might include oil paint, acrylic paint or encaustic media. Lithographic and other transfer processes often aid in the image creation. The work’s surfaces are built up in a series of applications and removals of the chosen materials. All frames are designed and built by the artist using a variety of hardwoods. Some works incorporate gilding on the frames or as a substrate under paint.