Friday, May 18, 2018

Beyond the Looking Glass

Into the Looking Glass...and Back Out

 Who am I?  

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Mirror, Mirror" (24" W x 36" H)
© 2016 Elaine Weiner-Reed


Fragmentary, flipped reflections of ourselves a moment in time. 
We never quite see ourselves
 as the world sees us.
Looking in the mirror is an interesting activity at best. At times, the image reflected back at us could be perceived as scary, illuminating, lonely, joyful, beautiful, or peaceful. Sometimes we see ourselves looking back, sometimes a younger or older version of ourselves. It could even be a stranger. Mirrors sometimes reflect what we want to see, sometimes quite the opposite. Always, though, our reflection in a mirror is only a fragmentary and flipped version of ourselves at one moment in time.  Regardless, I know of very few people who actually like their time in front of a mirror. I and most people I know, merely glance and run.

Masks of Many Purposes

We are all a complex combination of what we conceal and reveal.


At several stages of my life - possibly without realizing it consciously - I armed or literally "armored" myself with what I refer to now as my "body mask." When I wanted to be unapproachable, I consciously or unconsciously put on weight. Interestingly, it had the same effect as a shield. I became invisible to many, repulsive to others. And to a rare few, I continued to be ME. In such times, we learn what we and others are truly made of...who is more substance-focused and who is more interested in the surface and more superficial things.

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Backup Mask" (9" W x 12" H)
© 2017 Elaine Weiner-Reed

Sometimes, I would compose poems or write and sketch in a journal to express my feelings and experiences during trying times. The following reflection is from a time when I realized that to some people, I was unimportant. A student of human dynamics, I found it fascinating that because I was overweight, I was invisible. Not only that, but apparently my "chubby" voice could not be heard in a meeting, either. Like I said...fascinating! The realization of the relativity of existence was rather illuminating. I soon realized that such superficial individuals did not matter to me, either, and that being invisible actually had side-benefits in some situations! I opted to think of it as a 'superpower.' (Face it, we all want a superpower...and the Marvel or DC heroes could not choose their superpower, either!)

Invisible Me...
     I live between the lines, in color and scent and sound. 
           I am a part of the are you. Not apart.
  But you cannot see me perhaps because your eyes are closed?
Perhaps your mind and heart, as well...?

      Could it be that you look no farther than the comfortable, 
            the familiar, the new, the shiny, the beautiful?
If so, I feel sorry for you. You miss so much!

No, I am not invisible.
    I am not silent or without meaning. 

        I am energy, color, sound, and light. 
Some can see me. Some look for me.
I am visible when I choose to be
...and when you choose to see.  


   What would our image in the mirror look like
 if we could see a composite of what the world sees? 

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Altered State" (24" W x 36" H)
© 2017 Elaine Weiner-Reed


Who am I? Who are we, really...?

While we might not have different personalities, we definitely have multiple personas - each persona is tied to the roles we play. For me: Mom, sister, friend, colleague, artist, writer... In each of the different roles, we might act or speak or dress differently. Our personas are the many facets of our lives.

As I create (painting, sculpture, writing), I often lose track of the fact that everything I make is a part of me, my autobiography. In the moment, immersed in creating something from an idea and raw materials, I explore and examine life in all its dimensions. I contemplate and replay memories, reliving and exploring feelings of pain, joy, hope, frustration, and relief. Always, I paint and sculpt with all that I am, and all that I have to give. 

Every facet of my life is and will always be 
pieces and parts of the whole,
and my hope is that the "whole" 
will be greater than the sum of my parts
when all is said and done. 

My legacy, like yours, began with my first reflection in a mirror. 

From there, I hope that it has taken flight, never again confined!

I hope you will visit my solo exhibition and collaboration events in Annapolis. The link to the information follows:

      Thank you for reading, and thanks, as always, for your support.

                                    Yours in art and gratitude,


 © 2018 Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR)
      All images and content remain the property of the Artist. No reproductions or prints are authorized. All rights reserved.

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