Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Gateway

          "Gates [doors] stand between the here and there, betwen the known and unknown. At a psychological level, gates are found between the inner world and the outer, between sleeping and waking:  We labor to bring a half-remembered dream through the gateway between sleep and the daylight (James Hillman)...gates are places of transitions from one state to another."  The Book of Symbols.

          A friend used his welding torch to cut this hand out of metal for me, my shape influenced by the Woodland Indians of North America from 200 B.C.E. to 400 C.E.  I used it on a door that I had painted with a group of college students. Each working in small groups, we installed eight doors.  After our door installation weathered through, I hung the hand on my front door to be a gateway.   

An Excerpt from The Daimon:
February 12, 2010:  A reckoning.
          I dreamt I was strolling along at a gallery, viewing the pieces when a younger man wearing coveralls and boots approached me, hitting me on the rear in a familiar gesture and then encircling me within his embrace, pulling me along to walk with him within his charismatic stride.  Speechless, I was swept away.   Resenting it, I somehow broke loose to continue my own viewing.  He went on, sprinting across the gallery floor to take pictures of a life-sized photograph of cowboys on horses heading full force at the viewer.  I snuck off a different direction to escape his overbearing overtures.  I entered the women’s bathroom and thought about escaping as I looked out the window to the backdoor, latched tight with a padlock and chain.  While I pondered possibilities of undoing it, he appeared, opening the door as if it was never locked and stood before me, questioning my intentions of rejection.  Giving him a piece of my mind, I punched him on the arm with a “mind your own business” air.   I spun my heels and hurried away from him, refusing to look back. 

          Daddy looked like a fire breathing monster when he welded.  He put on his big leather gloves and his protective mask that he pulled down over his face.  Little Elisabeth could see his eyes through the slits.  She knew he was in there.  She couldn’t help but be curious. Watching from a safe distance, Momma would pull her little one even further away at the first sign of the torch.  Sparks flying in an arc, spewing around Daddy, somehow this didn’t frighten Elisabeth.  Silently, she watched her father craft tools out of metal rods--glowing red--bending and shaping shovel handles, spades and pitchforks but the sight of hammers would send her clinging to Momma’s skirt.  Yet, she stood erect, as if in a showdown with a dragon.


  1. The hand reminds me of the Hand of Lilith or the hand of Fatima, very beautiful and meaningful.
    I love the idea of painting doors with your students, doors.. gateways to ourselves and other worlds.. wonderfully symbolic.
    Do you know of the outsider artist Mary Proctor who lost her beloved Grandmother in a fire and sat under a tree and was unable to move with grief, until she had a vision that she needed to express herself by painting on doors and all her neighbors gave her old doors to paint on. She has a page with some of her doors.
    I love your work Gennie, very moving and beautiful
    big hugs, Rebecca <3

  2. Rebecca,
    I appreciate your response. I love your story about Mary Proctor. I did look her up and found her to be very fascinating. I am working on my presentation for Seeing Visions at Orr St. on March 6. I'll have to incorporate some of her images. It's just what my presentation needed. Thanks for sharing. I like your hand association with the Hand of Lilith or the hand of Fatima. That's a good reminder of that archetypal symbol. Thanks for "lending a hand" for my presentation. Wish you were here. Loving appreciation, Gennie