Americans have become accustomed to existing in a perpetual state of crisis. With red alerts blazing and sirens blaring, a psychic scar tissue over the brain grows thicker with every shock of economic, social, and environmental crises that continues unabated. However, the growing understanding of this planet's web of life and the interrelation of all things offers some hope humanity can awaken from its history of ruthlessly exploiting the earth. Perhaps it's too late to change what seems inevitable, and yet, always there is a thread of hope.
Rebecca Guberman-Bloom's new series, Inseparable Evolution, works to address the ongoing crisis of our disconnection to the earth in hopes of getting through those layers of scar tissue. Her aim is to present the awakened sense of connection to the earth, and she asks that the viewer reassess and remember the earth as primary and inseparable from humanity.
This series, which she created through the Light Work residency program, seeks a connection between the natural, wild world and the synthetic world built from it. By conjoining the natural and synthetic, she seeks to revive a sense of the sacred, and a connection to something that is lost. These images arise from concern that humans are evolving on a trajectory that continues to diverge from the social and cultural organization of every other creature on the planet. The work is a conversation with a knowledge or culture we had when we once lived in harmony with the earth. "When the wind blows, we no longer hear the ancestors telling stories," says Guberman-Bloom. We have lost the symbiosis that allows us to be entwined with the sacredness of life without feeling compelled to be part of its destruction.
The images speak directly of this concern with typewritten text. "We are part of, not separate from, same as," instructs the text of one image. Another warns and pleads, "Flow seeing into skin. Need the sacred or life will end. Time of waking is now." These statements inspire empathy for the wounds of the earth and alarm at the degree of human disconnection. They demand a reassessment of human values. To illustrate the logical and moral crisis of human activity, Guberman-Bloom states, "You see a bug, you kill it. What is that? You're killing something that is essential to the fabric of life, essential to who we are and the very thing we come from." These images expose the true meaning behind the apparently meaningless killing of that bug.
With the work Guberman-Bloom undertook at Light Work, a process began with the desire to use the female figure, plants, text, and photography to create a visual synthesis. She became inspired to create the entire series based on the location of Upstate New York and those that inhabit its rich landscape. She used projection, light painting, and collage to create the images. Serendipity arose when she found an old Remington typewriter. This find stimulated her to incorporate "old-fashioned" text into the series as a reminder of the amazing things we no longer use. While she could have used Photoshop to incorporate text, to Guberman-Bloom it would not have been as fun. She says, "There are no scissors, tape, no tactile experience involved. No smears, rips, or smudges, therefore making me feel way too grown up!" Her final version of this photographic series of over twenty-five collages was scanned and outputted onto rag paper-a perfectly symbolic destination for these images.
Inseparable Evolution is an illustrative and symbolic attempt to reconnect humanity to what it has lost. The visual metaphors enable humankind to feel closeness with the "natural" world, and encourages us to think about how we fit into it is of utmost importance to this artist who states, "We are truly creatures of a language of the heart, of the soul. Yet, we are living blind to our essence, and all but forget that we are a part of this earth. Our times are focused on commodity and gain, greed and power. In all this, however, we still can support the innate beauty of the always magnificent, unspoiled world."
Jeffrey Robert Harrison
Rebecca Guberman-Bloom lives in Portland, OR and participated in Light Work's Artist-in-Residence program from September 1-30, 2003. More of her work may be viewed at and .
Jeffrey Robert Harrison is a writer, musician, and writing tutor in Portland, OR.