Elizabeth Fergus-Jean

I am an interdisciplinary artist, author and lecturer on visual thinking, creativity and archetypes in media. I received my Ph.D. in Cultural Mythology at Pacifica Graduate Institute and my MFA from the University of Washington. My artwork is widely exhibited and is held in numerous public and private collections. It has also appeared on the covers of several international myth and depth psychology journals and books, including all eight issues of Mythosphere. My recent publications include Illuminating Letters: Paintings and Essays on the Kabbalah (Art & Psyche Press), and essays “Till We Have Faces: Image as Psyche” in Reimagining Education: Essays on Reviving the Soul of Learning (Spring Journal Books P), “Teaching Personal Narrative” in Teaching Photography I: Tools for the Imaging Educator (Elsevier P) and “Beauty and Loss” in Mythopoetry Scholar (www.mythopoetry.com). I have taught for over 30 years in a wide range of educational venues on the graduate and undergraduate levels, in Fine Arts, Media Studies, and Humanities departments. Currently I teach at Pacifica Graduate Institute in California.

The artwork I have submitted is from my recent series, Memory Boats. This body of work is born out of my love of nature. The landscape speaks to my soul, it congers memories of my ancestors, and it awakens my spirit. Like many, I have spent countless hours walking in the woods and along shorelines, playing in the water, and being filled with a sense of awe and wonder at the immense beauty of it all. As the years have gone by I have watched the cycles of nature and humankind’s imprint upon it, in both positive and negative ways. Life, like the seasons, moves in cycles; time ebbs and flows; and we are all participants in this journey. As participants our actions matter – what we do and how we act impacts ourselves, our communities and future generations of all species. For I believe we share this experience of life on Earth with all beings; as we are feed by the harvests, we must in turn tend and nurture others (all species) so they/we may prosper and grow.

The artwork in this series consists of floating boats that evoke reflections of how we view and dream of the land, water and sky that surround us. The 2’ boats reflect the changing seasons. These boats are filled with natural elements that reflect each particular season. For example, spring is a time of planting and seeding, so I have made the “Spring” boats to be pod-like, with each boat carrying bounties of spring.

My voice as an artist is a visual voice, I speak in images and I am called to make images that express what I am passionate about and what speaks to my heart. Memory Boats celebrate natural beauty while simultaneously bringing our attention to current ecological issues. I believe it is important to ask ourselves – although we are awed by the beauty of lakes and streams, by the open fields, or by the dense lush woods, what is our responsibility in tending to these natural neighbors of ours? In what ways do we need to become more mindful as we live in consort with our natural family?

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