Signs of Life by Marie Corfield

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Note: All work is copyrighted. No work may be reproduced without my permission.

I have been on a journey of healing, self-discovery and wholeness my entire adult life, resulting from the tragic death of my mother when I was seven years old. My artwork has played an integral role in that journey, serving as a response to my psyche screaming so loudly that I often had no choice but to listen and respond. However, for many years, its creation took a back seat to raising my children and earning a living. It was often created in stolen moments after they were tucked into bed or when I just couldn’t take the creative drought anymore.

Over the years, I would exhibit here and there, but mostly my work was kept to myself, filling the walls of my home, whispering to me that someday, they would demand to be seen by a wider audience. That time has come. My children are grown, my life is less hectic, and the call to create is so much easier to answer now.

I liken my creative journey to creating a jigsaw puzzle. Throughout my evolutionary travels, I have reclaimed pieces of my shattered self at every stop, and have expressed those finds in my art. Becoming whole demands that I sweep nothing under the rug, expose every blemish, bare myself to myself, and ultimately accept and embrace all of me. Only then, as Carl Jung states in his work on the psyche, will true integration and wholeness be achieved.

My themes are universal. They reflect the struggles that all humans experience as part of the collective unconscious that binds us all: love, hate, birth, death, rebirth, anima, animus, rage, violation, hatred, discovery, forgiveness, owning my power, staking my claim, becoming me. Sadly, as the second decade of the 21st Century comes to a close, my work now also reflects, and is in response to, the psychic struggles taking place in our country.

The mediums and subject matter I choose depend on what I want to express. While I am trained in classical drafting, I work mostly in collage and assemblage, relying on those things a curious little girl would find in her mother’s jewelry box or the bottom of a button box to tell stories of longing and loss as well as redemption and resurrection. Rhinestones, mirrors, costume jewelry and nails serve as relics of a life denied as well as feminine suits of armor. Religious iconography reflects my decades-long conflict with the strict Catholic upbringing that basically told me I was nothing. And then there’s Barbie. She makes occasional appearances. She and I are the same age. While I was living through decades of grief, pain and dysfunction, she had it all. What did I do wrong?