Regan Drouin (Halas) – (Mixed Media Artist)
2021 Haus of Ollom
Regan finds both silence and vivacity in her art practice. Rooted in contemplative and improvisational inquiry, she aspires toward rhythm of texture, (like to intuition) and line, (the articulated edge that approaches and recedes into mark, letter and form). For Regan, the idea of bricolage – piecing together seemingly disparate fragments – is essential. This is a process of both integration and inhabitation; it resides within the bodied action of uniting the sundered and living into the correspondences between material and immaterial.
Regan’s recent works in mixed media, including cold wax and oils, explore abstractions of landscape/bodyscape and mythical human/beast corroborations that are a metaphor for the joining of thought and instinct. She finds inspirationin poetry, early music and symbolic language systems.
About Whispers & Incantations Exhibition
I am not one for intentionally infusing symbols or style or affectation for effect into my work. I prefer to workintuitively and then step back and see what has arisen naturally and without contrivance. When I stepped back from this body of two-months work, what first struck me was the colors – such an unusual palette for me – and I see that these are the colors Mexico brought into my blood, (and more specifically, of Guanajuato with its high desert and the architectures within it).
I was, during the making of these paintings, ensconced in a study of the divine feminine specifically as articulated by the Gospel of Mary of Magdalene. I was also concentrated upon liberating my spirit from various confused dogmas and the reclamation of my heart’s authority from various and sundry external authorities. I see the echo of these endeavors in the imagery that emerged and give reference to them in my titles. The particulars don’t matter so much. It is rather the presence of each piece, speaking for itself that I hope will carry the energy of my education and enlightenments.
Thank you Mexico, thank you Guanajuato and thank you Valenciana for hosting me generously, warmly and gently during my stay and work. I hope I have brought to visit some qualities from my own origins that might add to your spice.
A story about “That Which had Oppressed Me…”
This piece began with wild abandon: graffiti markings and dripping paint. Then I began vaguely tracing a line drawing i had sketched in my notebook in response to a mental image. Eyes? Clairvoyant and pervasive, seed pods? vulvas? Thenarthex of a church? These shapes conjure many possible meanings
– unified by some essential organic origin. The two creatures became the polarities of my mind, representations of yin and yang… finally arrived at peace: gazing into the same distance. The citybehind is the chaotic backdrop of society.
I have been, for a number of months, captivated by Jean-Yves LeLoup’s interpretation of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene. My interest was further kindled at finding her image so frequently in the streets of Valenciana and Guanajuato and extended to the beauty of the Coptic characters, (the original language from which the text was translated) which found their way into my painting. At the beginning of my endeavor, I read these words:
Peter said to him [the teacher] “.. tell us: What is the sin of the world?”
The Teacher answered:
“There is no sin… “
And I wanted to engrave them words in my mind, into my soul. I wanted them to efface the misinterpretation that istaught as doctrine and religion across lands far and wide. They found their way into the ground of the piece many times over.
But after a month, the piece was not yet complete and I left it to rest, turned to the wall for three weeks or more, fearing that tension might lead me to some impulse that would destroy it. The bodies of the beasts remained empty. Then a time of personal crisis came and I was tortured with states of mind at once familiar and terrible. I could find only fragments of relief in prayer and practice until finally exhausted, I opened Magdalene’s gospel one evening and found my balm:
…the seven manifestations of Wrath, they oppressed thesoul with questions: ‘Where do you come from, murderer?’ and ‘Where are you going, vagabond?’
The soul answered:
‘That which oppressed me has been slain;
that which encircled me has vanished; my craving has faded,
and I am freed from my ignorance.'”
I did not look for LeLoup’s interpretation in those moments or the following days. I found that the repetition of this – what became a prayer for me – indeed loosened the bonds of my inner claustrophobia, anxiety and confusion and returned me to peace.It is the highlighted phrases above that reside in and join the two beasts in this painting.
These pieces are part of a year-long project called ‘Soul Retrieval’. They document a process of integrating techne, (reasoning mind or ‘left brain’) and psyche, (the intuitive mind and the ocean of the unconscious).
…Attempting to organise, categorise and name the contents: the timing is always off, the look is awkward, contrived. How long does one wait? What impulse is trustworthy? Oh delicious anxiety, reading Taoist texts, hoping, planning to let go of pre-conception. Failing.
Conversation with disembodied voices: memories, fragments, bits of songs, images, news preferably forgotten…but mostly sensation; the vivid sensation of a color or the jagged edge of a torn page. Everything is offered here, in this sensuous now.
I am looking for a passport to the OtherWorld: the place of buried wisdoms that lies beneath the social body and conceptual mind. Trim the foliage just enough to reveal what is already there, to unearth the bridges that lie hidden in dreams and raw phenomena, to travel to myth and bring back the scrolls.
Works presented include:
The first time I saw the title of the book, ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’, I thought, ‘That is the title of a book about me’. My life’s journey has been marked by searching; for sanctuary, for a sense of home, for love. From my youngest years, I have found reply to this longing in music, esoteric philosophy, imagination and a process of self-examination rooted in contemplative practice.
Honing vocabulary and listening for currents, this is my practice, exploration of the meeting place of phenomena and imagination, stitching “internal” and “external” landscapes, the excavation and deconstruction of language–words, symbols, sounds–that embed themselves in this human body, this is my practice.
I use the term “composer” broadly; my work finds form in mixed media collage, song and somatically-based installation, (social sculpture). I approach composition as a kinesthetic, in- corporeal exploration of mind: listening and response–a conversation. I seek to inhabit the mythology of my life. I seek to become the art I seek.