tracing the contours of bewilderment

Jena Argenta brings her exquisite papercutting to the artisans’ gallery, and contributes an equally exquisite, deeply thoughtful essay about her work.

In papercutting and in drawing,
I can’t capture the Mystery of a crane or a lily.
I can only trace the contours of my bewilderment.

 

Jena Argenta: Walking the Dark (detail), black newsprint unmounted, full piece size 9"x16"

Walking the Dark (detail), black newsprint unmounted, full size 9″x16″

 

Frederick Franck and my mother were early teachers in how to see and how to love. And if one makes a practice of falling in love, everywhere, with everything, it pushes the reach of one’s arms. Far becomes near. There is no “other” in the margins. Suffering is not on the peripheries. Like beauty, it is palpable and immediate. Drawing can leave you feeling broken and small with God on your skin. It can change your life. And yes, Jordan Wolfson, it can change the world.

My papercutting, while part prayer, is just a fancy way to get back to that line. To illuminate it by leaving it out. It turns the experience of life drawing and its loving inside out. I want to share eyes with you. And to take my time. I want to dig my heels in like a heavy rooted oak in the city’s technetronic center and hold ground and show you how beautiful light is when it’s mediated by shadow.

– Jena Argenta

Read the full article, with more examples of Jena’s work, here.


artisans

artisans’ gallery


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2 thoughts on “tracing the contours of bewilderment

  1. I have just received Frederick Frank’s book about drawing and seeing. It feels numinous. Yesterday I got lost in the beauty of a straw.

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