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Long ago, humans heard thunder as the voice of a god. Lightning was that god’s avenging arrow. Rivers had spirits; trees – who are very old and wise and live very slowly so they can watch things long after we humans have forgotten them …. trees told us the story of our lives; snakes embodied wisdom and mountains were powerful beings. Things spoke to us and we humans could speak to all things — stones, springs, lakes, clouds, fire, plants and animals.
We no longer practice this ancient way of communicating with nature — it’s mostly unconscious for us now, if we practice it at all. Indigenous peoples still relate to the natural world this way, but for the rest of us, it takes intentional effort and often does not make sense to our logical brains. The benefits we gain from relating to all of creation as if everything were a companion, or guide, or wise being, is something very few of us have on a daily basis.
What a huge loss! Jung wrote that we can compensate for that loss by paying attention to our dreams. Dream symbols bring our attention to our original nature, our instincts and that old way of being. Dreams speak to us in the language of nature, which is strange and weird to us.
Art has been my way of translating the language of dreams into a language I can understand. Art is part of my journey to wholeness. As you look at my paintings, drawings and mono prints, look for symbols of the dream world, symbols like fish, and water (for the unconscious,) strong weather, storms, animals and plants and planets, that might show up in the messages you get from your inner self. Although I use titles to give a hint of each piece’s meaning, I encourage you to find your own story in these images.
Maureen Shaughnessy owns 1+1=1 Gallery with her husband, Tim Carney. She is a lifelong artist and art educator. 1+1=1 Classroom has grown from 6 students to 25 students with a long waiting list plus workshops by Maureen and other guest artists. She claims she won’t stop teaching until she can no longer stand and get around.
Shaughnessy has had a varied career path to becoming a gallery owner – with 18 years owning a landscape design firm specializing in native drought tolerant plants and hardscapes and her own art studio practice in printmaking and painting. She has lived in Helena since the late 1970s, raising a family and tending her garden. When she is not working long hours at the gallery or in her own art studio, Maureen likes to hike, hang out with family friends, invent delicious recipes, read, soak in natural hotsprings and camp.
Maureen Shaughnessy is represented in Helena, Montana by 1+1=1 Gallery. Her artwork is always available for viewing during regular business hours at the gallery located at 434 N. Last Chance Gulch. Please call 406.431.9931 for more information about Maureen’s work.