Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. Rilke

The world simply is, and our consciousness is a participant in its being, but not a creator of it. Maria Popova

It’s an impossible task to know what I mean by Everything, much less try to write about it. With this title, I’m trying to capture a sense of that expansive state of possibility that exists between opposing or alternate sets of feelings – hope and despair, beauty and terror, sadness and joy. There are the problems of the day along with the grand enormities of everything. Somewhere in it all we might find a way to become better humans.

Everything In Between is about all of it – love and uncertainty, beauty and longing, what feels impossible and what inspires hope.

The paintings in this collection were made during a time of personal change. They are more varied in subject and form than past exhibitions. I’m still inspired to paint raptors, wild lands, and other creatures, which comes from my lifelong connection with the natural world, where I have always found solace. Painting what I love offers me a language that isn’t dependent on words. It’s a language I first learned as a child, spending time in the woods with my dog or my horse. Or my goat, Toby. I still recall the sweet melancholy of the sadness of the wind.

The subjects of many of these paintings are connected to specific encounters and memories, such as the migrating Peregrine Falcon who paid me a long visit in 2016. Other subjects reveal themselves during the process of painting – landforms emerging from abstract marks which I recognize later as unconscious imprints from years of living in the Columbia River Gorge.

In creating a painting, I’m looking for some truth in the interplay of emotion, attention, memory, witnessing. The direction I think I’m heading is often not where I end up, and sometimes it feels like the subject (usually the coyote) is responsible. I feel a responsibility to try to make work that is ‘worthy of our predicament’ (Teju Cole) while trusting that my efforts don’t need to be conscious to be of worth.

Writing an artist statement feels like pulling teeth. It sends me into a spiral of feeling like I don’t know anything, because it’s all so arbitrary and contradictory. It’s true, what we see and experience is only a fragment of reality. Maybe that is the point with this show. Everything In Between includes what I don’t know. Much happens in a painting, in spite of my efforts. Thank you for being a part of the in between-ness of this exhibition.

Bethany Rowland
July 2023