Be-Holding and Being Held


Traditional landscape painting is a three-dimensional object, pretending to be a two dimensional object, pretending to be space.

The work in Be-Holding and Being Held is the product of my holding that make-believe as an opportunity for reciprocity and gratitude to place.

I was trained in the Renaissance tradition of observing and recording a facsimile of reflected light. I am enculturated to notice glint and glitter, but I am looking for the powerful dynamics of energy that move through our shared existence: The Tao. Sometimes this quietly reveals itself.

My relationship to landscape changed when I first experienced open water immersion. Suspended in our Salish Sea, seemingly inseparable from, and held by it, I am no longer in a dominant position as a lonely viewer. Each immersion is radically different than the last. On calm days, when the tide is changing, I feel myself being breathed by the rhythmic swells. It’s always an act of surrender, and I consistently return home with a sense of belonging to something vast, a piece of living biome.

I use both my dominant and non-dominant hands as I work. As I developed skill in staining with paint, I realized its gift. My work is increasingly transparent. Every mark I make, intentional and otherwise, is visible through all the layers of paint. I want my process to show, since it is at least as important as the finished piece. (Also, I seem to have hardly any memory of making my work, so it’s a nice reminder of what is such a rewarding experience!)

Maggie Wilder
February 2023