The work I've developed over the duration of the last year has the central theme of space as a necessary tool in catalyzing growth and change. I have come to believe that some of the most important moments in a life are experienced – or at the very least, fully processed – in solitude.
Space has been an issue at the forefront of my mind, as it has for many, since the beginning of the pandemic. It was a jarring experience to be thrown into complete isolation after previously having had a very social career, and I admit, initially I did not cope well. It was difficult being forced to spend such direct, undiluted time with my full self, like having to stare unblinkingly into the sun. It was a lonely and difficult adjustment, to say the least, and one that I flinched from often.
After experiencing the initial shock that arrived with my suddenly intense relationship with myself, I began working with themes involving growth and transformation, using different iterations of the concept of space as a lens. By learning how to immerse myself in and reflect on the darker parts of my psyche, I uncovered my ability to more profoundly feel and experience positive aspects of myself as well. I reflected on the strength I found in taking new risks and honing my courage without leaning on the opinions of the people around me. I marveled at my ability to accept love after devastating loss. Finally, I learned to luxuriate in quiet, empty nothingness as though it were a down comforter.
My recent works are all oil on canvas. In my new exploration of solitude, I've turned to portrayals of landscapes in both literature and art as a source of inspiration. I'm enthralled by the notion of landscape as almost a sentient character in Victorian literature and the Romantic era of art history. The majority of my recent works combine these traditional notions of landscape painting with modern viewpoints and palettes to bring them nearer to us in our current times.
I invite my viewers to use these paintings as a window into the fullness of the void that we each carry in ourselves. May you look into your own void and be blessed with a vision of your glorious and terrifying undiluted self.
Danielle Mapes is a multidisciplinary artist who works and resides in Seattle, Washington. She studied sculpture at Metropolitan University of Denver in Colorado and ceramics at Shoreline Community College in Washington. In subsequent years, she has added oil painting, watercolor, and fiber/textile arts to her repertoire. In all mediums, Danielle explores the entwined relationships between trauma and evolution, on both a personal and global level, and is a passionate advocate for raising awareness about women's issues from an intersectional and environmental perspective. She is currently Assistant Director at Push/Pull, an education-focused art cooperative and gallery, and Program Director at Bal-Art, a community arts program, both in the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, WA.
Danielle enjoys exhibiting in venues geared for informal public viewing, rather than traditional fine art settings. She delights in the fact that she shows oil paintings alongside comic authors, illustrators, tattoo artists, and more public-oriented creators. She finds it beautiful how, though her work is more traditionally informed, she very closely shares common themes and values with her peers. Danielle believes in bridging historically class-related distinctions between materials and venue by exhibiting in settings that tend to feel more accessible to a wider spectrum of people of all backgrounds.
Rainier Maria Rilke
"...your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths."
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